Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Laundry Day Blues

Now it seems to me that the very essence of blogging is airing your dirty linen in public. It's like writing a Top Secret diary and leaving it hanging around for your mum or the Park Slope Co-op to read. In fact the very idea of laundry has acquired a new symbolic heft for me since moving out here and away from the rumbling machine in the pantry. Even the very idea of a pantry seems quaint and improbable in our brave new world of two room walk-ups and swollen fridges.

One of the myriad ways that my super and I are uncomfortably in tune is the fact that my dirty laundry always reaches a critical mass on the day that the recycling does too. Backwards and forwards I pass, loaded up like a donkey with Ikea bags brimming with worn pants and cat-hair infested sheets. It feels oddly intimate to stand there making small talk about dogs and the weather and swine flu when only a thin layer of blue plastic separates us from a sluttish avalanche of musty intimate apparel.

"Achieve stuff?" He asks, as I return from the post-wash, pre-dryer run, carrying the damp T-shirts that Chris doesn't trust to the maws of the Atlantic Wash Center dryers.
"Mmm hmmm." I say, thinking of the Heidegger essay I just unmangled over a cup of hot chocolate. "You?"
He doesn't even have to answer. The barricade of clear plastic sacks does the talking.
"Have a great day!"
"You too."
My smile is so cheesy it could clog your arteries.

In 35 minutes I'm due to run the super-gauntlet again, and for me, it is a gauntlet. Working from home rubs away tough the outer social surface that used to let me deal with irate authors and dismissive journalists without flinching. Now normal pleasantries embarrass me, and I know that it won't just be the fug of the permanently pressed clothes making me flush and sweat when I come to finish the weekly duck and dive through the stressed-out mothers and sardonic professionals.

Back at home, finding the basket empty, the cats get busy dirtying up next week's load.

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