Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Washer Woman Day

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.


lyan! said...

Japan doesn't know what a dryer is.

Tommaso Sciortino said...

What do they do in winter?

lydia said...

England uses clotheshorses and water heaters.

My clothes dried more thoroughly there than in my current apartment, dryer and all.

lyan! said...

The trick to drying clothes in Japan is that everyone wears synthetic materials. They dry really quickly, but even still, if you hang stuff up, even in the winter, it dries — but this is stuff left inside my place to dry, not outside.

cyshas said...

Oh is that why synthetic materials are so popular in asian. I always it was just an asian fashion "thing."

When is the washer getting fixed? would it have been so bad to throw the laundry in wet, and run the dryer twice or something?

Kenny said...

As I said, it took three or four cycles even with the clothes wrung out. Not wringing them out would be like dumping a bucket of water into the dryer. I don't think it's built to handle that.