Thursday, April 25, 2013


Before we came to the States, we used to hang all our freshly-washed laundry out to dry on two clotheslines in our back garden. In winter, or when it was raining, my home office would resemble a Chinese laundrette, with a variety of foldaway clothes hangers completely filling one end of "my" space every laundry day.

We now live in a nice, middle-class suburban neighbourhood in the United States where, like so many other nice, suburban neighbourhoods across this nation, clotheslines are completely forbidden. After all, drying clothes are unsightly (didn't you know that?). Although there is a burgeoning "right-to-dry" movement that is attempting to get rid of such homeowner association-imposed bans, the fact remains that we live in an area where we are simply not permitted to dry our laundry in the great American outdoors.

Loathe to don wet clothes lest we drip all over the house and/or catch our death of cold, we have therefore had to acquaint ourselves with a hitherto unfamiliar piece of household equipment: a dryer.

And what a jolly useful contraption it has proven to be. Rather than spending her evenings laboriously ironing all our family's sundry shirts, blouses, long- and short-sleeved T-shirts, trousers, shorts, pants and socks*, Mrs. Newbie has become a woman of leisure who merely transfers our wet clothes from the washing machine to the adjacent dryer, turns a knob, presses a button, and hey presto: wonderfully crinkle-free dry clothes. If she's feeling particularly energetic, she will throw in an "outdoor freshness"-scented anti-static sheet. But when the whim takes her, she doesn't even bother with that.

Unfortunately, this labour-saving device is also a gateway drug on the road to sloth. For having rid herself of the necessity to iron all our clothes, Mrs. Newbie finds herself hard-pressed to press even the essentials: our shirts. These now pile up - neatly folded - in a basket on top of the washing machine. Now and again, when we have no more shirts and blouses in our closet, she will rouse herself into action and iron a couple for herself. But mine usually remain in the basket.

Which is why I mostly just wear T-shirts.

* Just kidding: she never ironed our socks or underpants. Though we do know someone who does (I mean theirs, not ours).

No comments: