Friday, November 20, 2009
Hanging Out in the Sun
It appears that in some places, it's against the law to hang your clothes on a line to dry outside, "in public." A woman in Southeast Pennsylvania received a telephone call from a town official asking her to stop drying her clothes in the sun. Her neighbors left anonymous notes complaining that they didn't want to "see her underwear flapping about", likening the sight of such "unmentionables" to trailer trash.
Almost all the houses around here have clotheslines and people use them, even if they have dryers, from early Spring to late October but there are some who continue to hang their clothes outside all winter long. I tried that once one November. The sun was out, the air was brisk and since the neighbor over on rue St. Jean-Baptiste had her clothes hanging out, I figured heck, why not. Everything froze, of course. At the end of the afternoon I unclipped them, stacked them up, stiff as a board, and brought them inside. It took two days to dry, but only because they needed thawing out first.
Why would anyone use a clothesline when they have a dryer? Habit, for one thing. Trying to conserve energy and use less electricity, for another--or a combination of both. I actually like hanging clothes. When I lived in Boston I had an upstairs neighbor from Ethiopia. Though there were coin-operated laundry machines in the basement, my neighbor washed her clothes by hand and hung them draped over the iron balcony. Sometimes an article of clothing blew away or dislodged and landed in the courtyard below. No one ever approached her about discontinuing this practice.
No quirky poems about neglected summer clothespins, no long boring blah-blahs today--am just playing with colored pencils doing little sketches on the kitchen table. On a scale of one to ten, it's right up there with hot French roast coffee and a buttery croissant at 6 a.m. before the day begins.