I just want to hang out

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Reach. Grab. Sling. Pin.

Reach. Grab. Sling. Pin.

I can get lost in the rote rhythm, but why would anyone in an age of polyester and dewrinkle settings want to — use a clothesline, that is? Good question, especially when it’s coming from a friend who lives in a community with a covenant that would keep her from erecting one even if she wanted to.

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But the plain truth is this: I just like to hang out.

It’s not a desire to be eco-chic, or (as I learned long ago from my gas man) is it the hope of savings lots of money.

“You’d do better to cut back on your oven use,” the now-retired Mr. Bobby once told me, skirting past flapping sheets on his way to our propane tank.

I didn’t bother to explain to him just how unlikely that was, with seven seated around our table. But thinking back, that might have been easier than trying to explain to him what I don’t really understand myself.

That I like lugging laundry to the backyard where there’s grass and sun and a cat that’s glad to see me.

That I find wooden clothes pins charming.

That getting four loads hung out by noon makes me feel, well . . .  productive.

And it helps that my husband, a champion of any effort to cut down on utility costs, considers the stiffness of line-dried towels a value equal to that of a loofah sponge. “Hey, we dry and exfoliate at the same time,” he reasons.

Naturally, some days this line-drying business is a chore we do without, thanks to Whirlpool. Some days, however, it is a satisfaction, like this week as I took in the sight of whites waving in the wind, strangely juxtaposed between an old barn and a new-fangled fire pit in our backyard.

Funny how it’s the clothesline bridging the middle of that scene that represents a life luxury — time. Time to create a domestic diary involving pinpoint cotton and a pair of pillow cases. Time for talks under a stand of five strands, when words are spoken through teeth gripping an extra clothespin and instructions are given (again) about hanging from the hem.

My friend, the one with the covenants, could probably appreciate that aspect. She did in fact listen politely as I nostalgically described how an orderly row of just-hung socks can represent a day’s fresh start. But when I gave her the “it’s humble work, beautiful in its simplicity” line of logic, I lost her.

“So, let me get this straight. If you’re not saving much money and you’re not going green, then you’re doing this for . . .?”

For . . . me.

So, yeah, I’m coming clean. Some folks have comfort foods. I have a clothesline.

Reach. Grab. Sling. Pin.

Reach. Grab. Sling. Pin.

Kim Henderson is a freelance writer. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.