I belong to that strange band of people that legitimately enjoys doing the laundry. We’re a funny sort that like the smell of dryer sheets and comparing detergents in the aisles of grocery stores. In fact, I have gone to multiple grocery stores just to find a certain type of bleach. I also take the smell of my dryer sheets very seriously.
And unlike some of my other strange preferences (i.e. pickles with mango sorbet), I know exactly why laundry appeals to me. As much as I enjoy tasks that involve thinking, I love things that involve repeated, methodical actions. It’s a welcomed break from reading and writing. For once, analytical thought is not essential. The pressure of proving that I’m smart entirely disappears. Doing laundry properly just requires a careful balance of bleach, stain removers and lifters, detergent, softeners, dryer sheets, soap, and color catchers, and a whole lot of scrubbing. And I am an expert scrubber. Give me a bar of Naptha Soap and a bucket of water mixed with Oxi-Clean, and I can get a stain out of almost anything. (Except for dried acrylic paint, which seems resistant to everything.)
Sometimes, I have these dreams of moving to India and becoming a laundress on the banks of the Ganges, scrubbing brilliantly colored saris on large rocks. But then I remember exactly how destitute that lifestyle would be, and I reconsider. It’s still a nice thought, though. Those pictures in National Geographic make it look so beautiful.
And then there is the folding, which sometimes seems to go on forever, especially after I’ve done seven loads. But that’s always my time to watch TV, something I never do otherwise. The bantering of sitcoms drowns out the whispering of socks being folded over each other and my annoyed huffs when a pile of undershirts topples off of the couch, thanks to the cats.
I get a little sad when it’s all clean and stacked neatly in the baskets, ready to return to the dressers and closets, but the good news is, like any other form of cleaning, the mess seems to regenerate almost instantaneously, and I find myself repeating the process less than a week later.
Tomorrow, I iron, which is nearly as much fun when there’s spray-on starch involved.
Sidebar: Sometimes, I think that my delight in these traditionally female domestic chores is an affront to the modern independent woman and feminist ideals, but then I remember that it’s exactly the opposite. I enjoy these tasks because they genuinely appeal to me and not because tradition told me so. I also like putting together furniture and carpentry, and I even know how to install door handles and locks (which, admittedly, sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is), which are “male” chores. I do the laundry and iron because it’s fun, and it makes my mom happy, never because I “belong in the kitchen.”
And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.