Recently Andrew installed a clothesline in his backyard, and last weekend I took advantage of his environmental friendliness, the sunshine, and the breeze to hang out some towels and bedding.
Now, I’ve hung out many a load of laundry in my time (my parents have two washlines at their place), but I had a helluva time doing it right at Andrew’s. It’s attached a bit high for me, and the height isn’t adjustable like the ones I’m used to. But that wasn’t really it. Then it occurred to me why — I was working backwards.
For so many years I’ve hung laundry in the same place, in the same direction, in the same way… It’s all muscle memory at this point. But at Andrew’s I was facing the opposite direction, and using the wrong hands to perform the wrong tasks. Surprisingly awkward, and a weird feeling of incompetence doing something that, as noted, I’ve done a million times.
Equally interesting was when Andrew starting using the line the first time — hanging laundry out had never been one of his chores as a kid — so I offered my advice on usinge spacers, how to best hang shirts, etc. I thought it was adorable that he was excited about using the line, but didn’t quite know how to do it most efficiently. (That said, if anyone can overthink getting something done, it’s him.) 🙂
A couple of women I mentioned it to thought it was adorable, too. Like me, they’ve spent many years on laundry duty, to the point where one mostly just zones out and hangs, pins, pushes line out… hangs, pins, pushes line out…
I love moments like that when things that have become so familiar you’ve forgotten them get refreshed and brought to the forefront of your mind and provide you with all kinds of new things to think about. Kind of the reverse of saying a word over and over til it loses meaning.