There’s no such thing as laundry fairies? Yeah, right. Nice one.

May 3, 2009

Those of us who reside on Planet Man possess many special talents and, if you give me a minute, I’m sure I can think of a couple.

In the meantime, there is one concept we have never quite grasped — laundry.

When I was a kid, I simply left my clothes scattered in heaps and mounds on the floor and, when I arrived home from school, they had all been cleaned and tucked into drawers or hung in closets. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m pretty sure it was fairies.

For some reason, those magical creatures seem to have abandoned me. Maybe they were tired after all these years although, considering I own all of one pair of jeans, I don’t think they were exactly overworked. Maybe they were frightened off by Viking Woman. She can be scary at times, usually after I’ve done something she calls “a man thing,” whatever that means.

With no fairies available, Viking Woman took me firmly by the hand and introduced me to that mechanical beast sitting behind the folding doors in our bathroom. It’s called a washing machine because — how cool is this? — it washes clothes. Who knew?

(I know what you’re thinking: John, where is the dryer — which, wait for it, dries clothes — that should be nestled next to the washing thingee? To which I  can only reply, well, this is New Zealand, after all, where electricity is expensive and clotheslines are free.)

Operating a washing machine appears rather simple, even by Planet Man standards. You throw clothes in, add some kind of detergent, perhaps some fabric softener, press a button or three, and go have a nap to recuperate from all that effort.

Easy, eh?

Um, no.

Because, apparently, there are light clothes and dark clothes and some rocket scientist has decreed that those two groupings should never mingle. At least not underwater and covered in soap.

And then, as if my brain wasn’t full enough already — as if I wasn’t still struggling to grasp the concept that people, not fairies, clean clothes — Viking Woman threw in the fun fact that “light” does not necessarily mean “white.”

She went on to explain how pink is actually considered a “light” color. At least where women’s, um, dainties, are concerned.

So let me get this straight — there are light and dark colors and then variations of light colors? And people wonder why the residents of Planet Man tend to bumble around with a look of perpetual confusion on their faces. Hello?

I had a further lesson in all things laundry when I spent two days helping out at a seniors’ residence. This is what I learned: after washing and drying, there is a third step and it’s called folding.

Sweet Baby Jesus, is there no end to this madness?

We need to get one thing straight right now: Men scrunch. We roll. We wad. We pull open drawers and jam. We tuck under beds. We pitch into closets.

What we do not do is fold.

But there I was, mouth gaping in wonderment, as Florence demonstrated the art of grasping corners and then drawing them together once, twice, maybe three times. And then smoothing it all down, adding the item to a pile and moving on to the next one. And the next 400 after that.

To my credit, I managed to learn the art of folding towels by lunchtime. Facecloths proved a bit finicky, if only because they’re so small. Sheets — those great flappy  bastards — are tricky but doable. In fact, as long as it was square or rectangle, I managed to successfully convert it from a rumpled heap into a tight, neat package.

And then I came to the round tablecloths. Followed by fitted sheets.

Tonight I will pray for the fairies to come back. I will leave muffins at the door as a gift. I will promise to stop making short jokes. I will stop laughing during Tom Cruise movies.

Because I’ve had it with this whole laundry thing.

And, if the fairies refuse to come back, if not even the lure of double chocolate/macadamia nut muffins is enough to convince them to risk the wrath of Viking Woman, then I will have no choice but to become a nudist.

Yes, it will be a bit breezy in the netherlands, what with this being winter and all, but at least I won’t have to worry about figuring out the difference between “light” and “dark.”

That’s because, after a few chilly nights, everything will be blue. And then, when the pieces start to drop off, there will be red. All dark colors — I know that for a fact.


One Response to “There’s no such thing as laundry fairies? Yeah, right. Nice one.”

  1. Mary q Contrarie said

    Thanks for the smile. Here in the U.S. of A. there are some communities where clotheslines are banned. Isn’t that stupid. I have found that I prefer to dry my laundry on a clothes drying rack then it doesn’t matter what the weather is. I can simply move it in to the sun or out of the rain.

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