Lessons in Laundry Part 2: A Line by Any Other Name is a Dryer
The concept of line drying is simple enough: remove clothing from washing machine, hang it out to dry. In practice, unfortunately, there is a good deal more involved. Particularly if your washing machine, like the one in my building, is a bit weak on the spin cycle.
After extracting the sopping wet masses of cotton from the washer, my next thought was that maybe I could just squeeze all the extra water out by hand, like I did when I was washing undies in my sink. I started with the light stuff: a flimsy tank top and my socks. Those wrung out easily, and I hung them up.
Encouraged by my success, I moved on to the sweaters. Water poured from them like squeezing the juice out of an orange– not a big surprise to anyone who's ever been caught in a rainstorm while clad in cotton. It was a bit more work, but looking at it as good exercise for my upper arms I kept wringing. With the sweaters hung I started in on the pants. I was pleasantly surprised when the first pair, my black gauchos, released the extra water quickly. Feeling confident, I attacked the gray pants next. By the time I reached my jeans, I was invincible. I was the Laundry Goddess. I was Martha Freakin' Stewart.
I discovered, to paraphrase an old adage, that pride goeth before line drying denim. I don't know how many of you have ever tried to squeeze water out of jeans so wet they are glistening, but if you haven't, I assure you that it is an exercise in futility. If you have, then you can relate to my aching biceps.
I must have twisted those stupid pants into more positions than a yoga instructor, and still they were soaked. At one point, I even stepped on the waist while pulling and twisting the legs, before realizing that all I was accomplishing was getting my jeans dirty again. With several curses in both English and Spanish (most of which were directed at America's Domestic Goddess for making this look so damn easy on television) I hurled the jeans onto a line, jammed a few pins on to keep them there, and went to bed.
As I drifted off, I considered that it had taken me the better part of a week to do one load of laundry, and my self-pity worsened when I realized that with clothing that wet, it would probably take another three days to dry. With these thoughts crossing my mind like dark storm clouds, I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep.
The next morning dawned clear and cool, and I emerged onto the roof patio to see my clothing stirring gently in the breezy sunshine. I was pleased (and yes, chastened) to discover that my clothes were about 90% dry– even the jeans, which I had imagined staying wet until I left in May.
I felt a strange surge of pride as I stood there, my ropa waving like flags on the line. Maybe it had been more exertion than I normally required to wash a load of laundry, and maybe I had gone to bed with cold, chapped hands from floundering in so much water (I wonder if Martha has a cure for that?), but in the end, I had accomplished something tangible and useful.
That, and if I keep this up I'm going to have arms of steel come May.