Two years ago, when I split the blanket with Rumpole, I found myself moving into an apartment, above ground yet! Having become a spoiled Stepford Wife, I had become accustomed to having at hand the latest time-saving implements and machinery. Of greatest usefulness among these were the automatic washer and drier. How was I going to be able to cope without these so ready to hand? Not wishing to revisit boiling clothes on top of the stove, and rinsing them out in the sink, as i had done in early years, nor of wanting to languish wasting time at a laundromat watching clothes endlessly circling on the drier setting, I decided to problemo-solve.Memory tends to help in problem solving. I suddenly remembered that when I got my first teaching job, back in 1970, the first domestic purchase I had made then was a washer/spin drier combo. That little machine was a god-send!
The thought did occur, back then, that perhaps this Luddite contraption was no longer available to purchase. While waiting for Rumpole’s protracted negotiations of our separation to be finalized and whilst searching for the right apartment into which to land, I researched the Internet for such an appliance. (I found a Danby unit which would do the job quite nicely, and then proceeded to call all local appliance dealers to order me one.
When I went to the appliance dealer to order and pre-pay for one, the salesman beaded me with a critical glance. “Why do you want such a primitive machine?” he asked. “No woman alive could possibly want one of these. It means too much labour. Are you sure you are up for one of these?”
I told him, ” Well I had one of these puppies in 1970, when I was beginning my teaching career. It had been a step up from wringer washers, and boiling clothes on top of the stove. It worked then, so why should it not now?” He shrugged and gave me one of those glances which might indicate I had lost my mind. “You’re the customer..” he simply mumbled and filled out the order invoice. Six weeks later my Danby arrived. It was a bit of a disappointment – it had too many plastic parts that could potentially break.
I have been using this little washer/spin drier for a year and a half, with great contentment and appreciation. Clothes come out clean. I am aware of how much water is used in the wash and rinse cycles. I am grateful for how much water is spun out by the tiny spinner, and how little time it takes to dry clothes on a line – winter or summer. I like the mindfulness the whole process of washing a load of clothes helps me attain. I like the business of watching water aggregate in the washer, of snapping moist clothes out to rid them of wrinkles prior to hanging them up.
And on a strange level, the past forty years have become negligible. I feel as satisfied with having completed this domestic chore well and simply, just as I had forty years ago. And no, I have not flooded the apartments below me because I have forgotten to turn off the tap while filling the washer. When that unfortunate incident happens, it will be time to retire me to assisted living. Until then I often revisit the past, in performing the mundane tasks of laundry. Most contentedly!