Of course, it was ultimately fine. It stayed out there for another day or so until it defrosted and dried off.
But here’s the thing: I hate putting laundry on the line. I hate taking it off. I always have. No amount of people trilling about how fresh the clothes smell can change my mind.
I do it, but I do it out of environmental guilt, with a vague eye to the electricity bills. I knew the snow was coming. Yet, the laundry stayed out there.
These are the ramblings of a reluctant “home engineer”. As I tell my husband crabbily, I signed up to be a mother, not a housewife. But I do care, deeply, about our family’s effect on the environment, and regularly scan our energy use, our appliance use, our consumption of plastic, water and gasoline. I recycle and try to make those little environmentally-conscious decisions that might make a difference.
But…as I race through my daily obligations, I notice that I have an unrelenting undertow that wishes otherwise. Why? Because doing things in an eco-conscious way takes more effort.
You can argue that it’s not that much more effort. You can argue that I’m overprivileged and whiny. I won’t argue back. But I can also tell you that on a busy day, which is most days, to find the inner fortitude to take an extra 15 minutes — less if it’s sheets, more if it’s underwear and socks — to hang out the laundry is harder to come by than you might think. Especially with that hussy, the dryer, sitting right there as tempting as a bowl of cocoa-dusted truffles.
A lot of these types of decisions have these undertow-laden downsides.
Turning down the slow-to-respond radiant heat in our home means uncomfortably cold mornings.
Washing and reusing plastic bags, is a fiddly, maddening business and they are impossible to get totally dry.
Combining runs into town to save gas means lots of wasted time for someone (read: Mom) while all family members get their lives and events done.
Recycling means more consciousness while sorting, rinsing out and disposing of trash – plus the accompanying guilt when I don’t bother. I realize now what an obscene luxury it has been most of my life to just throw away everything and walk away.
I have spent plenty of time trying out ways to change my attitude because taking these relatively simple steps are the very least I can do.
I have heaped guilt upon myself by remembering that I do not have to wash our clothes outdoors and by hand.
I have tried to trip out on the joy of doing my small part to save our beautiful earth.
I have tried to take deep pride in being a woman whose elemental job it is to nurture the planet.
I have tried to radiate intense love for each beloved family member whose clothes I am folding.
I have tried to flip it all around and be grateful that I still have some freedom every day to use my education and abilities when generations of women before me could not.
The result? I still resent those shirt sleeves flapping tauntingly on the line like a bunch of stranded trapeze artists.
Did I mention I hate housework? Anything that requires me to take longer doing it, I resist.
So, generally I grit my teeth, buckle down and think subversive thoughts. But I’ve made a deal with the Universe. If I use the laundry line most of the time, then I get to use the dryer for the underwear-and-sock loads. So far, the Universe hasn’t gotten back to me. I’ll keep you posted.