I was recalling this moment as I was hanging up laundry the other day back at home in Dublin. (Wait, who am I kidding? I hang up laundry every day in Dublin right now. My loads seem to consist of teeny tiny underpants and I’m running out of jokes about shrinking my own underwear.)
This was from our holiday last week, and of course we had poopy underpants to deal with. I mean, there were six other whole days of the week for Hawkeye to poop on! And while I don’t mind letting shirts with food stains or marker or something sit in a laundry bag for a few days, the easiest thing to do when you’re rinsing off poopy underpants is to throw them right in the washing machine after instead of letting them get moldy and icky. And if I’m throwing in underpants, I might as well throw in a t-shirt and some of my own underthings, The Mister’s socks, and any and every pair of trousers for Hawkeye that I can get my hands on, just in case. So there were several small loads washed during the week as I have been doing since we started toilet training.
But I digress, I was hanging stuff up on our laundry rack by the window and the ever-present dehumidifier when I remembered this moment. It was early in the week. The weather was somewhat uncertain, and I did not quite have the confidence of chucking everything in the dryer. Tumble dryers in Ireland kind of suck, in my experience. The majority of units, especially in rented houses, are those washer/dryer combinations which simply distribute the moisture more evenly all over your clothes. Honestly, I might as well dry my clothes over a bonfire of cash, because by the time you run the thing long enough to actually dry a few pairs of socks that’s how much electricity you’ve used up. They’re very “energy efficient” in this manner – you save money by never running them as a dryer.
When it comes to separate tumble dryers I’ve had mixed results. I just haven’t encountered the same sort of powerful machines I got used to in the States. Also, in the intervening years the few times I have ventured to throw things into a tumble dryer, if they didn’t come out still wet, they came out slightly… small.
So the easiest thing to do was go old school; throw stuff up on the clothes line outside. Thing is, it’s a weird experience for me. I haven’t really lived anywhere where this is a common habit. It’s usually not done in apartment buildings. Most estates, in fact, have rules against hanging laundry on the balcony to preserve “visual aesthetics”. In the US where ever I lived we usually tumble dried everything unless it was not appropriate, and those items were usually hung up on hangers in the bathroom. So I just don’t ever recall when I last (if ever) did something as simple as hanging stuff up outside on a clothes line to dry in the sunshine and fresh air. This thought struck me so hard last week I paused to take a photo and yesterday I was recalling the feeling of the crisp, fresh post-rain smell of the grass and the air, and the slight breeze giving me goose bumps.
Is it weird to feel nostalgic for something you don’t actually have any experience with? Drying clothes outdoors is not an option where we are living right now but I wish it was, even with the uncertain Irish climate. Something to stick on my “when I grow up” list perhaps.
Yes, I still have one of those.
Yes, I’m still in denial of being an adult sometimes.