A few days ago, my husband said the dreaded words that no wife ever wants to hear. Ever. They are words that strike deep into the heart of even the bravest among us, leaving behind a sick, sinking feeling of dread.
“Sweetie, I think I’m out of underwear.”
Let’s just let the horror of that sink in for a moment. Do you feel it? Yeah, I know. It’s pretty awful. Like, not on the level of “genocidal” awful, but probably along the lines of “hide the children and pets” awful. I hate it when anyone in my family runs out of underwear. Or socks. The universe cries whenever someone runs out of socks and underwear. I am convinced of this.
I’ve posted before about how much I hate laundry. It’s not the laundry itself that I hate. I hate the act of having to DO the laundry. Out of all the household chores I do on a daily basis, laundry is the most torturous. And I’m including cleaning up dog barf and muddy paw prints in this equation. I don’t feel I’m overstating things when I say my soul dies a little bit every time I do the laundry. I’ve done a lot of laundry over the years, which means I’m probably running on vampire-type soul fumes at this point. Do vampires have soul fumes? I don’t know, but if they did, those things would live in my washing machine.
Even among the worst household tasks, there are differing levels of acceptability — a sort of caste system of undesirable tasks, if you will. And washing underwear and socks is at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom. I HATE washing underwear and socks. “HATE” isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s what I have. Just thinking about dirty underwear and socks has killed my vocabulary. Yep. Killed it dead.
Touching someone’s dirty underwear is not fun. It’s icky. It’s so icky that it’s one of those things you can’t really let yourself think about while you’re doing it. If you stop to think about what you’re doing, you will have no other choice but to scream in horror and run away. Far, far away. And then, no one will have clean underwear. I don’t particularly like dealing with icky, sweaty socks, either. And my family has yet to master the fine art of not putting crumpled-up socks into the hamper. But, oddly enough, the socks don’t give me as much of an ick factor as the underwear.
I hate, hate, hate, HATE matching the socks up after they come out of the dryer, though. Matching up the socks is tedious and annoying. It takes forever to do. You always end up with at least one extra sock that doesn’t match up with anything at all. And there are always socks stuck in places where they shouldn’t be. Like up in the top of the dryer tub, or under the things that twirl the clothing around while it dries, or stuck inside the underwear so that you don’t see them or even realize they are there when you fold the clothes and put them away. When this happens, my family members seem to feel incredibly insulted by it. They never fail to find me and complain that there was a sock stuck to their underwear. I get it … sock-underwear is annoying and weird. But hey, it’s static cling. It happens. I don’t control the laws of nature and static.
Matching up the socks just pisses me off. There is no better or kinder or easier way of stating it. As I stand there in the laundry closet, searching the dryer for every stray sock and trying to make sure they all match up, I feel like I can hear the universe ticking away, drawing ever closer to its eventual end. If driving evoked the same emotions as sorting socks, I would be an absolute and total menace on the roads. I might be a menace, anyhow, but sock-angry driving would make me a hazardous and really pissed-off menace. It would not be pretty. Or safe.
My mom likes to tell me I should be happy about doing the laundry. She says I should be glad I can wash the socks and underwear because I’m doing something to help my family. I’m doing something that will make their lives easier or happier or … something. I don’t know. I don’t understand her reasoning, really, because, when I think about the socks and underwear (but especially the socks), anger takes over. And then, all I can hear is “blah, blah, blah … singing birds and talking animals perfection … blah, blah, blah”. I swear my mom has this idea that I’m doing laundry in a Disney movie while wearing my favorite tiara and princess gown. Ha. I wish. But only if I could wear the gown with my favorite sneakers.
When I try to explain the actual, soul-sucking, life-draining, anger-inducing thing that is washing the socks and underwear, she never fails to fall back on her tried and true reply, “Well, dear. That’s your job.” She always says it with a little laugh at the end, like she’s mocking me. I know she’s not mocking me. But it feels like she is. It doesn’t help my anger issues. And, of course, she is right: it is my job. Still , none of this makes me feel any happier about doing it.
Ah. Socks and underwear … You slay me. One load at a time.