The Clothes Line

A couple of weeks ago, our gas clothes dryer went kaput. For over a week, my husband maintained a somewhat unrealistic dream that he could fix it. So there the broken dryer sat, with all our good healing intentions radiating towards it. Funny how that doesn’t actually fix mechanical things.

After weighing the costs of possibly blowing up our house while attempting to fix it against the cost of hiring a repairman, I gave our local appliance store a ringy-ding. Two days later, the fellow arrived and said, “It’s either your gas coils or the gas belt.” (I could be making up the name of these parts since I am not technically qualified to discuss repairing gas dryers.) The former was a $17 part and was in his truck. The latter was a $100 part and took at least three days to arrive from Tunisia or something.  Upon further inspection, it of course turns out to require the more expensive latter option.

Naturally, this past weekend I had a college friend arriving for a visit and because I am a Master Procrastinator (I’m thinking of starting a certification program), we were in a full-alert linens crisis: All linens were dirty from previous visitors and life in general, the towels get crunchy from air drying, and we don’t have a clothesline to hang the sheets on. So, I do approximately 115 loads of laundry in our washing machine – Old Bessie (named after my great grandmother, who was not a washer woman). I then pack up the wet linens and a bagful of books in my car and am off to the local laundromat aka laundry mat to dry, dry, dry my way to contentment.

What a refreshing and wholly enjoyable experience my trip ended up being. The day was not too hot, the ceiling fans were cranking, the place was empty – except for a few full washers and dryers – and there I was with a pocketful of quarters, a bag full of books, and a list of things I wanna think about. And think I did. And then I didn’t think at all as I just watched the other laundry owners come in, take care of their loads and move on their way. What struck me most profoundly is how much I take for granted in my little house with my own washer and dryer, while all around me humanity is going about their business with even more limited resources. I feel lucky that I had the chance to go back to basics of sitting in a gathering place to watch my sheets go round and round as a simple reminder of how other people live happy lives with less.

The most profound reminder of “big lessons that arrive in expected ways” came as I left and noticed a landscaping truck parked at the back of the laundromat’s lot. On the side, they had added a decal that proclaimed, “Business is Terrific, People are Great, Life is Wonderful”. I suppose I might add one small thing to that statement: “…and My Towels aren’t Crunchy.”  Otherwise it’s perfect exactly as it is.