Spin Cycle

laundry piling out of the washing machine. what a drag.


Admit it. You had a reaction when you saw that word. While thoughts of laundry could conjure the sweet smell of clean and the warmth of a towel pulled out of the dryer, that’s not the conjure that hits me first.

When I started doing laundry as a Young Doc, it was about moving piles to the basement in the dorm, waiting for the machines and returning at the end of the cycle to see someone had pulled your clothes out and put theirs in. Grrrrr.

Absconding with the community car, a few of us discovered the wonders of the laundry assembly line, the laundromat. We’d hit it up Sunday morning, slightly hungover, filling up three or four washers at a time. To save coin, we’d combine the wash into two dryer cycles. The big dryers were more expensive per cycle, but not per load. Completely done in two hours.

Fast forward to daily laundry. Doing one load every day kept the piles at bay. Mondays towels. Tuesdays jeans and tees. Wednesdays whites. Thursdays perma-press. Fridays sheets. Saturdays whatever’s left. Daily meant that while you were never done, the piles didn’t grow. Family laundry tamed. I think I only stuck to it a few months. Although, it could have been a few years since there was so much laundry that needed to be done for so long and memories get muddled like that.

Next phase was roll your own. The every-man-for-himself model spread the burden family wide. The Boys had uniforms for school and sports. There were specific soccer socks, then baseball socks, then football socks, that needed timely cleaning. Mixing with household laundry slowed things down. Happy to say I had no blame for a game-day fail. Sometimes they wore dirty jerseys. So be it.

All last week I was searching for three tees. They were long-sleeved and I needed them for our unseasonable weather snap. I couldn’t find them in the drawer. I looked on top of the dresser, nope. I went in the hamper with the folded clothes that never make it to the drawers. Not there. I put the folded clothes in the drawer. I looked in the other hamper with the clean clothes that I didn’t fold. While I was there I folded some of the bigger items. Did find those wool socks. No tees, though.

As I sorted clothes for washing today, I found the tees. How could they be dirty?  I hadn’t worn them in like six weeks. Going through my clothing pile, I’m thinking maybe I haven’t done my laundry for a while. Like a long while. I’ve done household laundry, but haven’t touched my hamper. Oopsie. I’m now thinking I need to cut the laundry lament.

Laundry and it’s process could be a metaphor for cycles in life, for picking yourself up, for cleansing, for mindfulness, for handling with care, for studies in timing, for sorting things out.

I’m not feeling any depth in the lessons of laundry, today. As I walk up and down the stairs, reading labels to catch the line-dries, all I can think of is spin, lather rinse and repeat. Not much there but the task.