I’m not a huge fan of doing laundry, and I suspect that many of you share that opinion. I constantly complained about laundry while living in San Francisco. Finding a unit to rent that includes a washer/dryer is practically the holy grail of city living. For a person who isn’t terribly concerned with domestic matters, my obsession with washer/dryers is, well, borderline unstable.
However, this is the story of why I firmly believe that when I return to San Francisco I’ll have a new appreciation for lugging my laundry up and down multiple flights of stairs, fighting with other tenants on a Sunday for the machines, and staying up late waiting for the last load to dry so I can bring it upstairs lest another tenant leave me a nasty note for leaving my clothes in the dryer overnight.
In my apartment here in Georgia, the washing machine drives me crazy enough. Among other things, a single load takes over 2 hours to run. For-ev-er. But the thing that really makes me crazy? There’s no dryer. I line-dry my laundry outside, in one of two places – either on the clothesline off the kitchen balcony, or on the clothes rack off of my bedroom’s balcony.
I wasn’t too thrilled with drying everything on a line. I like the instant (ish) gratification of having my clothes dry and fluffy within an hour. Sure, leaving the occasional “line-dry only” item overnight is fine. But I leave everything until the last minute, and laundry is no exception. It isn’t until I’m literally wearing my last pair of clean underpants that I finally do laundry. And even then I’ve considered whether swimsuit bottoms could do in a pinch. JOKING. (Not.)
But, short of purchasing a dryer for my host family, I had no other option, and so I resigned myself to getting used to line-drying my clothes, and even pretended that I was excited for the “fresh-air” feel that they’d surely have. Whatever – just throw them over the line and get over it.
Turns out – not that easy. And thus I discovered the many ways in which line drying my clothes causes me considerable anxiety.
Full disclosure: I completely recognize that most of this is absolutely irrational, yet here it is… you’ve been warned…
Anxiety #1: My clothes will fall off the clothesline.
We live on the 10th floor. One wrong move, one loosely pinned article of clothing, and down it goes. I’m truly amazed that I haven’t dropped anything yet (I have a few weeks left, wait for it.) I guess my death grip on each piece as I hang it up combined with the 17 clothespins I use helps. I’m also amazed that I haven’t knocked the bucket containing the clothespins over the side either. Or the hook-thing that we use to push the lines in and out. I hope people here understand the phrase “heads-up” in the event that I drop the hook.
Why would it matter if something fell over the side? Couldn’t I just go downstairs and retrieve it? Yes. But try telling me that when you’re looking down 10 stories while you hang up your jeans.
Anxiety #2: That I’ll fall over the side.
Ok, this is sheer ridiculousness. This knowledge has, however, not prevented me from coming up with James Bond-esque survival strategies in the event that I do fall. These strategies may or may not include miraculously landing on another balcony (what?) and catching other people’s clotheslines to swing myself onto their balcony.
Anxiety #3: My underpants.
I love underpants, but I simply can’t get used to the idea of having my underpants fluttering around for the neighbors (who I don’t know) and my host family (who also wear underpants) to see. Therefore, all of my underpants, bras, and socks (the socks are lightweight; see Anxiety #1) get hung out to dry on the rack on the balcony outside of my bedroom. Actually, I used to hang all of my clothes on the rack on my balcony (see Anxiety #1 again). Then I realized it took 2-3 days for clothes to dry on my balcony, and only 1-2 days to dry on the kitchen balcony. Despite this fact, my balcony’s rack remains my personal underpant drying rack.
Editor’s Note: I had a picture of my personal underpant rack, complete with my underpants hanging on it, then questioned why I felt comfortable posting a pic of my underpants on the interwebs, but not hanging them on the balcony. Things to ponder, indeed.
Anxiety #4: My balcony’s door.
My underpant balcony was working out well for me, until it started to get colder here in Tbilisi. Apparently the door leading to my balcony EXPANDS in the cold (doesn’t that defy the laws of physics?!). Therefore, every time I need to either hang up my underpants or retrieve my underpants, I spend roughly 10 minutes wrestling with the door to open it, and then banging and shoving it closed again. Generally this includes door-kicking, hissing “ARGH I HATE THIS DOOR,” and sometimes even “walking away” from the door lest I feel inspired to just remove the hinges and throw it over the side of the balcony.
Anxiety #5: Bird poo.
This actually hadn’t occurred to me at all for nearly two months until one day I was taking my clothes off the line and discovered bird poo on the balcony’s ledge. Of course this led to me checking each article of clothing to see if any poo had splattered. I didn’t find any, but now I check every time I bring my laundry in. Seriously – how does the bird poo on the balcony yet miss my clothing? Miracle of miracles.
Anxiety #6: Drying time.
I have to seriously plan ahead (ugh) to make sure I have enough clean clothes. My clothes can take anywhere from a day or two to dry, depending on how sunny/windy it is. Since many of my shirts are thick sweaters and thus take longer to dry, I’ve gotten comfortable with wearing them several times in a row, otherwise I’d be doing laundry practically every other day.
The planning gets serious when it comes time to wash my sheets and towel. I have one set of sheets and one towel. This means I need to plan to wake up early to get the sheets and towel in the wash so I can get them out on the line with MORE than enough time to dry. It’s also critical that I plan sheet/towel washing for a day when I can a) be late to work, b) not take a shower, and c) stay up late to extend drying time available.
In case you were wondering, the towel never dries in time for my next shower. I suck it up and use a damp towel. I don’t know why this feels weird – it’s a towel. It’s supposed to be wet.
Anxiety #7: Fireworks.
Oh my holy hell.
This is a brand new one and actually what inspired me to write this post – I had planned to keep my laundry anxieties to myself, lest you all think I’m completely nutters.
So, I noticed Lela taking her pillow covers off the line while they were still wet. When I asked about it, she showed me one of her sheets that had been destroyed by a FIREWORK! There were big holes in several places surrounded by black soot. People have been shooting fireworks off of balconies non-stop since a week before the New Year and Lela’s poor sheet became an innocent victim.
The fireworks already constantly startle me (I blame my days of living in Shaw), and I’ve been getting more irritated with them every day since Jan 1. The New Year is OVER, people.
Lela’s sheet is tragic enough. I did not bring that many items of clothing, and if some little punk’s fireworks destroy anything, I’ll lose it. That would mean that I’d be down a shirt, or a pair of pants, and you know what that means?
More frequent laundry.
Kitten picture found here