Archive for the ‘The Mystery of Laundry’ Category

Making Assumptions

September 21, 2011

I found a sock in the laundry room.

It was a woman’s sock, ankle high with a black and white argyle pattern. I found it wet and clinging to the inside of the washer when I started to load my clothes in.

Naturally I removed it. Then I contemplated what to do next.

Two of the dryers were engaged. Was it possible that this lone sock belonged in one of them—that its mate was tumbling dry alone?

Yes, I thought it was possible.

Should I open one of the dryer doors and toss in the sock? That would be easy to do. The sock’s owner would be none the wiser. In fact, putting the stray sock in the dryer might be a good deed. Unless…

…Unless I picked the wrong dryer.

It was possible that the sock belonged to the person whose clothes were in the dryer. It might even be likely. But it wasn’t certain.

If my assumption turned out to be incorrect, I would have made things worse not better.

I placed the wet sock on the folding table in the laundry room, finished loading my clothes into the washer, started the wash cycle and left.

When I returned to fetch my clothes from the washer, all the dryers were empty and the argyle sock was gone.

Did the person who picked up the sock also empty the dryers?

It’s possible. It might even be likely. But I’m not prepared to make that assumption.

The Cycle Not Taken

May 6, 2010

I don’t use the permanent press cycle on the washer. It runs warm, but not normal and not delicate. Beyond that, I’m not sure what it does or how long it does it. I could find out; do some research (one of my favorite occupations). Something prevents me from pursuing this.

I prefer it to remain a mystery: the button unpressed.

There’s always one, isn’t there? On a dashboard full of buttons, switches and levers, there’s one you’re supposed to avoid. (Maybe I’ve seen too many movies.) Usually it’s under glass, maybe under lock and key, certainly an ominous—yet strangely irresistible—shade of red. The permanent press button is none of those things. It looks just like the others on the washing machine touch pad.

It’s tempting, I’ll admit. Yet I resist.

What could it do? How could it be different from the others? Someday I might find out, but for now I’m content with hot, warm and cold, and one option yet to be explored.

Laundry is a Mystery, Part 2

March 1, 2010

Forty-seven socks were washed. That’s 47 individual socks; 23 pairs and one lone sock without a mate. (More math, and for this I apologize.)

Where is the missing sock? This is a fundamental mystery of laundry. And it poses a dilemma: Do you keep the freshly washed lone sock and believe that its mate will resurface, or do you toss it away and assume the mate has gone forever?

This is not quite the glass half-full/half-empty dichotomy, but it’s similar. It’s about uncertainty and hope, and how to balance the two.

Until I’m certain that the missing sock will never be found, I live in hope. There are so many places where the missing sock could be hiding.

It could be in the laundry hamper, unwashed and overlooked but available for rescue and redemption at any time.

It could be hidden within the newly washed and dried laundry—the corners of fitted sheets seem to lure socks in the dryer. I discover these lost socks when I fold the sheets; or sometimes only after I unfold the sheets to use them again.

It could be stuck to the inner walls of the washer following the spin cycle. Or it could have been dropped anywhere on my route to or from the laundry room. Finding these stray socks is more difficult, but it’s not impossible if we resort to the Blanche DuBois principle of relying on the kindness of strangers. For there are always lone socks tacked to the bulletin board in the laundry room. They were found by neighbors, or strangers (sadly often one and the same), and hung there for their owners to claim them.

As long as there is a bulletin board in the laundry room, there is hope.

Selecting My Cycle

February 25, 2010

How long does it take to create momentum?

Right now I feel like I’ve just selected my cycle. Regular Wash. Warm. Universal, easy and manageable. I feel the excitement of a new beginning—the pleasure of hearing the water cascade from the hoses into the tub, watching through the window of the front loader as it soaks the clothes, preparing for the time when there will be agitation, suds, a rinse and a good, hard spin before they finally come to a rest in the bottom of the drum.

I love to watch the T-shirts that cling to the top of the drum when the cycle comes to an end. They grip the edge, flattening themselves against it, trying to avoid the inevitable pull of gravity. Eventually, though, the force is too strong; they must let go. And so they drop onto the pile below.

They’re like someone dangling off a cliff, hanging over an abyss enshrouded by clouds, desperate to claw his way back onto the precipice. Letting go is a risk when you don’t know what’s waiting to meet you on the other side. Then again, like the T-shirt dropping onto the pile of freshly washed clothes, you could discover that this is where you belonged all along.

It takes more than a few days to create momentum—this I know. Then I see something like this blog post and I believe that there is significance to everything. Even laundry. Especially laundry.

Laundry is a Mystery

February 24, 2010

Did you detect the mystery in the previous blog post?


Tsk tsk. You’ll have to pay closer attention.

Go back and read it again.

Laundry is a mystery filled with clues.