I have always hated doing laundry, I'm just not that good at it. All the sorting and waiting and folding, and then there's that stuff about detergents and water temperatures. I vaguely remember a line my mom once told me, something about a cold, dark room....or was it a warm, dark space?
Although I do clearly remember grocery shopping with my mom when I was about 18 years old, a good three years into me being responsible for my own laundry. She sent me for some laundry detergent and when I returned she gave me the mom look and said, "This is fabric softener. Sweetie, is this what you have been washing your clothes with?"
Yes, it was.
But now that I'm responsible for the fresh scent and crisp appearance of others' clothes, the pressure is really on. I dread each day's addition to the laundry pile; every work shirt, every spilled coffee stain, every preschool runny nose that I have no tissues for (I have zero shame using my shirt).
I have found myself crying alongside my son after a bad dream, So not only did he wet his PJs but also a whole set of sheets?That's two separate washers.
So each week, in the diligent fashion of a responsible housewife, I haul my load to the laundromat which is usually filled with other women trying to wash out food stains from superhero t-shirts and looking for socks that are really too bright to get lost but small enough that they elude. Along with these women, I have become a purifier of cotton and denim. We calmly wait in the white light of fluorescent bulbs and sit in silent meditation until a dreaded thud, thud thud pulls us back to this mechanical washing ground. Calling us to be contestants in a laundry game show, Is the sound coming from Dryer 1, 2, or 3? The prize? A forgotten toy in a pocket that, at best, is intact but warm. At worst, has melted and spread it's gooeyness to the rest of the laundry.
This has become my sangha, my community. While I still am unsure of color sorting, is gray a white or color? I have become confident that my son's sheets and germy clothes are definitely to be washed in hot water. And I'm learning to enjoy my time at the laundromat.
Well, at least not dread it.