Sunday, November 7, 2010

Laundry Al Fresco

{Here's an interesting opportunity! Offered here for your perusal and comparative anaylsis is the first version I wrote of my outside washing machine experience (entitled "Old Fashioned Laundry" the first time around-- the version I knew I'd written but couldn't find so I re-wrote it! Re-writes always suck so I think the original version is MUCH better. See what YOU think!}

"Now you're REALLY white trash!" he said as he wiped his hands on his shirt, an amused twinkle in his eye. My ex-husband had just gallantly brought and hooked up a spare, working washing machine so that my household could continue to run and no one would be panty-less!
The only problem is that the washer is in my backyard!
This washer situation will probably prove to be much to the apoplexy of my next door neighbors. They may even have seen it already -- I being unaware of how often or ardently they peek over the fence or run upstairs to their guest root to spy out the window that overlooks my yard.
You see, there are many things my neighbors don't understand. They are in their early 60's. They are financially independent. They only had one child and she is long gone and lives out of state. Basically, they have time and money. I have neither. They don't have jobs, children, dogs, or cats. I have three of each. They have peace. I have stress and persecution.
And, if my neighbors do, indeed, know that I have a working washing machine in my back yard, I'm sure to get a letter from the city before too long as they are always turning me in for some offense or another.

Do they know WHY I have a washer in my yard? Do they care? I'm pretty sure they think I do things just to be tacky and to annoy them!
So, I avoided the washer for the first day or so. Finally, in desperate need of towels, jeans, and undies, I slunk out with an arm full and plunged headlong into my own tackiness.
There! That wasn't so bad!
Soon I found myself in the back yard in my nightgown in the optimistic light of an early summer morning. The summer sun, the morning dew, the gentle breeze, a basket on my hip. This isn't so bad. Many people do laundry in dank basements or cramped closets or public laundromats. I get to hear the birds sing and see the gentle breeze in the trees. Enthusiastic dogs and a curious cat accompanied me. The sweet smell of soap. Bare feet on bare earth. Something deep and pleasent and familiar tugs at my soul. I wonder. It's as if I have a connection, a memory trace deep in my soul to some other time and some other place. Like I've done this in a past life. I have a deep sense of peace in this unfamiliar arrangement. There is a sense of duty and accomplishment, bare feet on the bare earth, connected to the ageless, timeless ritual of laundry. It's as if I can sense a clothesline nearby, the kiss of the sun and wind on the clothes and linens, some sort of solace, respite, or haven from other drudgeries... For how many eons was laundry washed outside compared to how long man (ok, WOMAN!) have had automatic, indoor washing and drying machines?
Maybe, in a past life, I was a "laundress". Maybe I lovingly washed the clothes of my husband and children. Maybe I was just glad to have water and an opportunity for cleanliness (next to Godliness, you know!)
What I know right now is this: (1) I enjoy being plugged in to the ageless, timeless task of doing laundry outside (as long as it's summer!) -- which CAN be just plain pleasant on a nice day. (2) I refuse to be ashamed of resourcefulness. (3) I would rather be one of the humble hard workers than the harsh and judegmental criticizers.

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