Friday, July 25, 2008

Pleasant Labor

Ok, you can think me odd, but I confess: Laundry holds no terror for me. None whatever. Not even a shred of distaste. I might even go so far as to say I find laundry to be pleasant labor. Well, maybe not the sorting part, but after that... Sign me up!

What is there not to like? All I have to do (once the sorting is done) is stuff it into my state-of-the-art front loader, add some soap nuts, push a few buttons, and voilĂ . When I hear the buzzer, I remove the clothes, put them into my piece-of-junk drier, push another button, and go on to other business. I could have had a nifty new drier to match my snazzy front loader, but I'm not really a drier fan. I use mine under duress.

If I had my druthers, as they say in Texas, I would definitely hang my laundry outside on the clothesline, as I did for years after years of pre-puppy years. Alas, no more, at least until Chudleigh outgrows his puppy-ness... During the first few months we had him I got really, really tired of refereeing between him and the clothesline; hence the enlistment of the drier into service. I just did not have the time to sit outside and babysit the laundry until it was dry. More my style is to leave it hanging out there until I am good and ready to bring it in, kinda like I do with the drier now. But Chudleigh is approaching adulthood, and I will be expecting a higher standard of behavior.

When Chudleigh learns to "Leave the Laundry Alone, You Little Twit!!!" (oh, how I hope he does!), I guarantee I will go back to my pre-Chudleigh practice of using my clothesline, because the best bonus of all: the smell of fresh air and sunshine! Luxuriate in the matchless pleasure of the scent of outdoors when you go to bed on clean sheets at night. That (along with the smell of petrichor) is absolutely as good as it gets. Come to think of it... Haven't I noticed detergents with "Clothesline Fresh" scent for sale in the grocery store aisles? Not that it bears even a slight resemblance; but doesn't it prove that somewhere underneath our modern penchant for the fabulous fakes we yearn for the real thing?

Folding the laundry can be a pleasure of another kind, particularly when there are little clothes to be taken care of. I no longer have small kidlets of my own, but I do enough of the Blue-Eyed Boy's laundry to stay in practice. And, of course, I have my Man. Every piece of clothing, big or little, that passes through my hands evokes awareness of people and family and relationships in my life, and what can top that? And don't forget, a couple of baskets of laundry to fold make a perfectly legitimate reason/excuse to sit down and watch that movie you don't have time to sit down and watch. And if you do happen to have kidlets hanging around your ankles, sorting socks and folding small, flat items will entertain them while teaching them math skills and spatial relationships and hand-eye coordination. That is a whole lot more than anyone has a right to expect from one simple household chore.

Compared to the practices of my childhood~pounding the laundry on the big rocks sticking up out of the river deep in the Amazon rainforest, later graduating to an old-fashioned wringer washer~laundry today is unmistakably pleasant; though, come to think of it, watching piles of suds floating away down the river while tropical fishes nibble on your toes is pure pleasure. And adventure. Well, at least for a child... ;-)

And the old-fashioned wringer? Well, it certainly has charms of its own. What child does not thrill with suspense when feeding socks and sheets into the maws of the wringer! Will you be able to yank your fingers away in time? Or will the wringer eat your hand up to your elbow before your excitement attracts the attention of your mother who will drop whatever she is doing to hurry over and hit the red *release* button to extricate your throbbing arm? Of course, if you do manage to withdraw your hand in time, there is still fun to be had playing a "what is it?" sort of game when you see familiar colors and textures coming out the other side in an unrecognizable context.

Pleasant indeed, but all in all, past and present, I think I am going to have to upgrade laundry from merely pleasant labor to a most pleasant labor.


Angie Lou said...

Now that I know how much you love laundry, I'll just bring some over for you ok? :-)

Actually I have good memories of sitting in the living room of that house you guys used to rent and folding laundry with D. :-) I can't say that I really enjoy it while I'm in the moment though!

Candy said...

I am starting to think I really don't know you. If you enjoy laundry so much why did I spend my entire childhood folding it? And even when I came home after I was married it was still waiting for me? To think I deprived you of such pleasure. ;-)

Marytoo said...

I had to sacrifice so as not to hinder your development ;-)

Manuella said...

I loved, loved, LOVED this post! I too, love doing laundry! Folding it too....hanging it to dry outside even more. Leaving half of my life in Romania, I've never heard of a dryer. And most of my growing up years we washed clothes by hand, then dad got an old washing machine from the curb and fixed it. I will forever remember how afraid I was of that thing that had the electrical wires exposed, because it came without that cover. First thing I'd always do, was turning the machine with the wires to the wall. The spinning did not work, so basically was just the washing easier, but my mother and I were grateful; we had 6 boys, a baby girl and my dad to wash for.

With all that, I loved doing laundry. The hanging to dry of my clothes had all underwear together, pants next to each other, t-shirts was an art! (mom called it).
Coming to America and having 3 babies in 4 years, I just adored my brand new matching washer/dryer! I still hung my clothes to dry, in the very unpredictable WI weather.

Sweet Mary, your post brought dear memories and a tear to my eye. Thank you!

Indeed, a labor of love :)

Marytoo said...

Hey, Manu, thanks for visiting! <3