Friday, 18 October 2013

A Laundry Lament


Some people find washing and ironing therapeutic.  Yes, it’s true.  I can remember – granted it was years ago – a friend who actually said that after a busy day at the office she enjoyed nothing more than running a hot iron over crumpled clothes.  That listening to the hiss and spit of the iron as it whooshed backwards and forwards over her beloved husband’s shirts was calming.  And as for periodically being engulfed in a cloud of steam, well apparently that was Nirvana.  This, of course, was before she went on to have a number of children, ended up with her nerves frazzled by juggling the office job with a family, and finally told them all to iron their own wretched shirts before taking off with the window cleaner.  Okay, he wasn’t the window cleaner.  But he was somebody similar.  The milkman or the postman.  And no I don’t know if she found bliss with her new man.  I rather suspect the danger of finding new love is that you inevitably exchange one load of domestic drudge for another
          Anyway, I digress.  My old friend’s words of finding the task of ironing to be a therapeutic one stuck in my memory.  I suppose it’s because as I’ve stood over the ironing board at assorted hideous hours of the day or night, I’ve tried to con myself into believing that I’m doing something soothing.  A bit of respite.  Something that makes my shoulders droop with relaxation and my mind uncoil from tension.   However, as I unball tightly balled-up socks and unpick a crop of buttons from shirts and blouses (my husband and daughter undo the top two before bending, head over feet, to pull the garment over their heads so that it remains not only securely fastened but also inside out), I have to confess that wearing a tranquil expression and thinking tranquil thoughts doesn’t come easily.  And when I’ve finally put garments the right way round, unpicked all those buttons and ironed everything to freshly laundered perfection, I don’t appreciate the cat mincing over when my back is turned and making an impromptu bed out of it all.
          Which reminds me.  A guy walks into a laundry run by cats.  ‘Excuse me,’ he said to the cat in charge, ‘can you get milk stains out?’  ‘Sure,’ replied the cat, ‘in a jiffy we’ll have that stain licked...’

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