Doing Laundry

Dropping the basket on the floor I began pulling out shirts and random articles of clothing and draping them across the back of my chair so they wouldn’t wrinkle. I dumped the remaining socks and what not in the seat of the chair and started folding. First came a soft yellow t-shirt, worn from too many washings. Next came a plain white t-shirt that still had that stiff new feeling. I folded each shirt carefully, being sure to smooth the wrinkles and uncurl the sleeves. There’s something about folding someone else’s laundry that makes you take extra time. There’s something about doing someone else’s laundry that makes you stop and think. This isn’t my shirt. I don’t know where it came from or how long the person’s had it. I only recognize it as something they wear. Now here I am folding it and placing it back in the basket in a neat and orderly pile. Next comes a pair of jeans and I’m tempted to read the label and see what size they are. She always avoids the issue like it bothers her, when really it doesn’t. I resist the urge and fold the jeans in thirds, adding it to the pile. You can tell a lot about a person from doing their laundry. What kind of stains do their clothes have, if any? How threadbare and worn is the fabric? What are you folding when it all comes out, dress clothes or scrubby t-shirts? What kind of underwear do they wear? Do they even leave their underwear for you to wash–that in itself says a lot, either they’re saving you the trouble or they don’t quite trust you. What kind of socks do they wear? Are they all different styles of white so you have to spend twenty minutes matching them all? Or are they goofy designs and anything but white, making the matching process a colorful game of memory? It’s also kind of humbling to wash someone else’s clothes. It’s usually the kind of job reserved for your mother or a servant–ironic that the two are paired together. It’s an interesting clashing of social norms. Or maybe I’m just thinking too much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.