So, laundry is a thing that takes up more of my mental energy since moving to the city.
The washer downstairs is ridiculously old and holds half of a normal load. And the dryer can’t dry a load completely. But it’s the most convenient.
Then, last week, it broke again. For the whole week, the washer sat filled with greasy grey water. The sight of that water every day for a week made me vow off the convenience of the washer downstairs.
So, today I bundled all of the laundry I could fit into my two laundry body bags and had my husband drop me off at the laundromat.
Now, I probably don’t do as much as I could for the environment, but one thing I do is to use cloths for everything. We have cloth napkins, kitchen cloths, and lots and lots of rags. I don’t buy paper towels or paper napkins.
All this to say, my laundry can be pretty gross. The dirty cleaning rags sit in a bucket under the sink. And my kids know where the clean ones are in the bathroom so they often trundle through after, say, they miss the potty, or spill some milk, and toss them in the bucket.
By the time the bucket gets filled it usually smells and has a few weeks worth of bathroom rags in there.
My kitchen rags can be worse because they’re usually wetter. They sit in a separate receptacle with the dirty napkins and can be demoted to cleaning rags at any time. I run a very strict caste system. My kitchen rags live in fear.
The kids laundry, also, is nothing to sniff too closely. I witnessed enough poop smears on the underwear today to initiate a little family meeting to discuss wiping strategies. And I know I have mentioned before that if I manage to get to the bottom of the kids’ hamper I usually discover a gross something at the bottom. Today it was an entire outfit that had hot chocolate spilled all over it.
So, I felt rather disgusting and rather disgusted after loading all of it into the washers. And I sat and waited to put it all in the dryers.
The front loading washers at the laundromat are a joy to watch. They do such a better job than the washer in our building. It’s so comforting to watch the sudsing and the rigorous tumbling.
To be sure, getting clothes clean has always been a rather violent task, the pounding on the rocks, the crushing them through the wringer. And this is a violence I approve of.
Shouldn’t I approve, therefore, of such violent methods in my own life, the tumble and toss of getting clean. And all our sins are as dirty rags, certainly an analogy that the women would have understood. Lord knows I need to be slapped against the rock to remember who I am.
Lord save me from the apathy of the ancient top-loader in my garage!
There is joy in coming clean.
I take the clothes out of the dryer and they smell so fresh and feel so light. And with pleasant surprise I realize they don’t fit as well in my bags. They take up more space. They are more.
As it sometimes happens, you don’t see how dirty things were, how weighed down. It’s like after confession when you are light and clean again and realize, “Oh, I was heavy with it!”