On Laundry and the Creative Muse

I should preface this post with a disclaimer: I’ve been on hiatus, which is a nice way of saying I haven’t had much inspiration of late. I was going to write about the struggle to persevere during a loss of creativity, but first I had to do the laundry and, well, this is what came out instead.

I’m a guy, and as such am expected to meet certain performance benchmarks. These include carrying an equal share of the housework while also serving as resident handyman, bug-killer, jar-opener and top shelf-reacher. Then there’s the loving, attentive husband and the wise yet impartial father-figure with an encyclopedic memory and generous demeanor. All this while maintaining six-pack abs through an active lifestyle that includes mountain biking, kayaking and the occasional zoomba routine. During my down time it’s off to the salon for a quick waxing session, to deforest the back and part the uni-brow.

It is a burden I bear gladly, with perhaps one exception. Laundry. I can say with certainty that, whatever “answers” there are to be found in this life, none have ever revealed themselves to me while I was sorting colors. Usually I can be counted on to make the same face as that anguished soul in Munch’s “The Scream,” whom I have no doubt had just opened the dirty clothes hamper.

Even so, I try to stay positive as I wedge myself into that tiny room where the washer and dryer lie in wait. No, I’m not having a stroke – it’s just the florescent lights flickering and buzzing overhead (Christ, I thought Gitmo was the only place where you could still find those). I can’t remember the last time I checked the lint trap which, consequently, looks like some sort of unholy chia pet gone to seed. Then, as I’m shoving the first load in, there they are – sock balls. Pardon me while my head explodes.

Of all the things over which a person can get their undies in a tangle – global warming, the Islamic State, someone putting the toilet paper on the spindle the wrong way so it comes off the roll from underneath instead of over the top – one of the highest on my list would have to be those festering wads of bunched cotton that lurk amongst the sweat-kissed tee-shirts and dribbled upon blue jeans. If there is anything that could make me turn on my family like the gerbil I had when I was 7 that polished off her entire brood, it’s sock balls.

Formed as they’re being improperly peeled off the feet, it should fall on the peeler (you know who you are) to unroll the sock balls right then and there, but instead they go straight into the basket, left to petrify in their redolent funk. A grievous miscalculation, as sock ball insanity has been cited as a successful defense in capital murder cases.

I can see why. They are impossible to cleanse in such a state. I know – I’ve tried. Even the most advanced washing machines and high-powered agitators are no match for these toe-jam grenades. It’s that ol’ “garbage in, garbage out” thing. Don’t expect the wash cycle to miraculously undo them. Like cockroaches, they are able to survive anything and retain moisture indefinitely, even after three cycles in the dryer at the “surface of the sun” setting. So every one of them has to be painstakingly unfurled, which is why my laundry room is equipped with a set of these…

sock tongs
Yet, were I to somehow get through an entire load without coming across a single sock ball, there would still be the matter of fitted sheets to contend with. Because, when I die and go to Hell it will be my job to fold fitted sheets for all eternity, an endless stream of them rushing down a conveyor belt toward me like those pieces of candy Lucille Ball was trying to corral, piling up at my feet as I struggle to get so much as one to conform to a shape that has anything remotely resembling four corners.

May we all be blissfully naked and sleep on clouds in the next life.

Image courtesy of indylaundry.net


11 thoughts on “On Laundry and the Creative Muse

  1. LOL!
    I must admit, the laundry here gets to be a bit of a uphill battle this time of year. The clothes are more, and thicker, and larger, so the hampers fill more quickly. I don’t deal with sock balls. I can honestly say I am grateful to have never dealt with sock balls 🙂 All four kids and The Mister peel their socks off properly, I suppose!

  2. What is this “sorting colors” of which you speak? I have a vague memory from childhood, but it seems to have dimmed considerably. Yes, I know that new clothes dyed red or blue probably need a few cycles on their own, but after that? I’m far too casual.

    I do have a suggestion for the fitted sheets, which does fine for me, but probably wouldn’t pass muster in a normal household. Never, ever, fold that fitted sheet. Wash it, dry it, and put it back on the bed, el pronto. If its quality is good enough, you can go for a couple of years without wearing the thing out, and maybe more, if the cat keeps her claws away from it.

    I just wish the advocates of wind and solar power around here hadn’t decreed that line-drying of clothes is forbidden. Poor aesthetics, they say, to see those sheets flapping in the breeze. I wouldn’t mind hanging some of them out to dry.

    • Sorting was something I adopted “After Marriage.” Prior to that everything was unceremoniously stuffed into the same load, where the general palette evened out at a dingy gray.

      I’ve not run across a place that has banned line-drying…seems a bit uppity, especially coming from the wind power crowd, who’ve had to fight that same “aesthetics” argument when it comes to their massive turbines.

  3. The worst thing for me is trying to pair up the socks after the wash, 4 pairs or socks go into the machine and 7 single socks come out, none of them matching.

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