Every time I do laundry it somehow takes up the entire day.
Today the washing machine broke down in the middle of a load of laundry, leaving our coloreds (clothes not people) soaking in a machineful of cloudy water. Consequently, I had to wring out every last article of clothing by hand in preparation for putting them in the dryer, where they would enjoy several cycles (they're on the third now--or is it the fourth?) before emerging dry and probably still in need of a wash. Hooray!
So much of our day-to-day interaction with wet laundry is limited to laundry that is in fact merely damp. It's easy to forget that when clothes are actually, seriously wet, they hold a shitload of water. You pull them out of that machine and they are heavy, glistening and dripping everywhere. You could fill a pitcher with the water in a T-shirt. And wringing every last thing individually is tedious work.
I guess that is what people did before washing machines. There was the washing, and then the wringing, and then the clothesline. Whoever invented the hand-cranked rollers that squeezed water out of clothes for you--in other words, the kind of washing machine no doubt used to peel shrimp by one J.M. Lapeyre, thus accomplishing the same function as a boot (contrary to the assumption in the linked article that Lepeyre's washing machine was the modern kind we're accustomed to)--was a genius. Did you forget what I was talking about in that sentence? I was saying that the inventor of the rollers on old-time washing machines was a genius. That digression totally got in the way, but I really wanted to tie in Boback's piece.