Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Justin installed my (pulley-mounted) laundry line last week, and I am supremely happy. I spent nearly a decade of my adult life in an apartment community that didn't allow residents to hang out laundry, and it nearly killed me. No exaggeration. Okay, slight exaggeration. Anyway, one day, when I was already feeling a little blue, the communal dryer ate my laundry ticket. I was out of tickets, out of money, and extremely cross. As I hauled my sopping wet quilt across the courtyard, I noted the warm spring sunshine and pleasant breeze and thought "I'll just throw my beautiful patchwork quilt over the privet and let it dry in the sun!" About 45 minutes later, I got a call from the apartment manager asking me to remove the quilt immediately. She said that another resident had 'complained' and reminded me that clotheslines were verboten. I took my time bringing the quilt in, but it still had to finish drying over the shower-curtain rod and that night it had only a faint trace of that fresh, line-dried scent. All it took to spoil that small amount of grace for me was a nosy, cantankerous control-freak.

For weeks afterward I was filled with rage and depression. It was a small thing of course, but it really rankled that anyone could be so petty and unneighborly. I also hated that such a simple, reasonable action was precluded based on the freakish notion that laundry drying in the sun is somehow an objectionable sight. Mostly, I was just frustrated beyond tolerance that I had so little freedom. Renters, particularly in apartment complexes have few rights -- often they can't keep pets, even if they are willing to assume financial responsibility for any potential damage. Modern apartment communities rarely have any space for children to play, and usually have signs forbidding ball-playing, bike-riding, skateboarding, and any other thing children might do to enjoy fresh-air and exercise. And, few apartment dwellers are allowed to hang out their laundry.

Today I'm feeling very grateful for my old city bungalow, with it's crumbling plaster, sagging porch, and new clothesline.

dinner tonight: curried chickpeas, gingery green beans, brown basmati rice with whole spices

3 comments:

Piroska said...

It never ceases to amaze me that Americans aren't allowed to hang their washing out to dry! Why not take advantage of the free drying properties of the wind and sun, rather than using more electricity drying things in the tumble dryer. One of the things I liked best about moving into a house with a proper garden is the enormous Hills Hoist washing line in the middle of the garden, so ugly and the symbol of Australian suburban living, but incredibly useful. Love that dried outdoor fresh smell!

Debbie said...

I remember a law school professor telling us, "Badly written rules encourage bad behavior!"

Carolyn said...

Nothing like the smell of sheets dried on the line.

Great Blog!

Carolyn