Airing My Dirty Laundry

drying-rack.jpgToday, Sarah shares an environmental epiphany (and an apology to her mom):

“My mother was an environmentalist before environmentalism was cool. She reused paper and plastic bags (embarrassment: lunch in a reused vegetable bag!), left the heat off until the first frost, and to this day does not own a dryer. Seriously. She hangs her laundry outside in the summer and on dry winter days, and inside in front of a heater vent in inclement weather.
The absence of a dryer was the source of much agony growing up: picture me running next door to dry my favorite jeans before the big dance, ironing a shirt to get it dry before school, or taking my dirty laundry back to campus with me after winter break. I was so thrilled to get a dryer in my first house; I did laundry almost daily, drunk with the joy of how easy it was. I even was known to run downstairs to heat up the comforter in the dryer before bedtime.

But the other week I had an epiphany. I was in the laundry room (i.e., basement) on the first sunny, dry day in what felt like months (okay, it was months), wondering why I was about to chuck the wet clothes into the dryer when they’d probably finish faster outside. And I was startled to find myself arranging the kids’ clothes on the drying rack on the back deck five minutes later. More startling still was the calm, Zen-like meditation of shaking out the wrinkles, laying out the laundry on the rack, actually checking whether the stains had come out before setting them in with the dryer, revisiting memories of when my older son had fit into my younger son’s hand-me-downs. (It didn’t hurt that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the dog was peacefully chewing a stick and not chasing neighbors, and both boys were at camp.) And when the whole load of clothes was dry an hour later without using a drop of electricity or natural gas, I was understandably smug.

So along with my fresh, environmentally responsible clean laundry, I’m having a double-helping of crow. And I owe mom an apology: even though we hated having to hang out the wash on the line, and air-dried jeans are still totally the pits, I get it now. Along with so many other things, I guess you were right after all.”

Image credit: Honey-Can-Do Chrome Drying Rack from Amazon