Eyesore, My Eye!

I can’t imagine life without a clothesline, but evidently some people can’t imagine life with one. I wrongly assumed once that everybody has experienced line-dried clothes and loves the smell of fresh air in their laundry like I do.

When I pluck sun-dried laundry off the line, I burry my nose in them; inhaling a fresh scent no fabric softener can duplicate. On windy days or nights, I enjoy the sound of laundry flapping and those breezes snap wrinkles right out of shirts, jeans and sheets. Somehow, nature starches them for me too.

I was asked one time what the point was of drying clothes outside. After I explained the advantages of saving electricity, I asked my clothesline-deprived guest if these great inventions were used where they lived, 1400 miles away.  That’s when I learned that not everyone enjoys seeing other people’s laundry hanging outside, and that clotheslines are considered an eyesore in some places.

Rows of laundry waving in the wind were the last thing I would have expected people to consider a landscape blemish. The surprising comment just proved to me that where people live determines what they consider ugly in other parts of the country. I’ve always believed the hardest things to look at were in cities.

Driving at night, from a distance a city looks like a glow of radiation from the overkill of blazing orange street lights to me. The only noticeable sun-bleached whites that flutter in the wind there are hundreds of dirty plastic sacks hung up on fences that nobody’s eager to go up and touch, smell, and pull off the line. The kind of wash left outside to dry is piles of fast-food cups, plastic lids, straws, and food packaging banked against street curbs and drains.

I’m grateful to have a dryer that heat dries and softens my laundry in the wintertime, but whenever the thermometer breaks the fifty degree mark, and I’ve come down with spring fever, my remedy is to hang loads of washed laundry outside on the clothesline. Once warmer days hit, I ditch my dryer for the starchy feel and wonderful fresh scent of line-dried laundry. Towels, shirts, and linens suck up as much spring air as they can hold, while waving up and down in the wind.

At the end of summer, I store away my air-dried sheets for flannel ones, but whenever I get summer withdrawals, I dig out the line-dried sheet sets. The distinctive seasonal scent clings to the fabric, lulling me to sleep; sweetening my dreams and temporarily satisfying my cravings for hot summer days.

Maybe metropolitan people are more modest about hanging their underwear where people can see, but I’d still rather hurt my eyes looking at somebody’s clean and bright tighty-whitey underwear or bras strung out on a line than people’s dirty trash.

I have yet to understand how line-dried laundry can be called an eyesore. I could relate more if their problem regarding clothes drying outside was an issue with the extra time it takes to just to get laundry on and off the clothesline. Whenever I recruit help handling clothes in strong winds or getting them off before it rains, they always hang me out to dry.

Column originally published April 27-May 3, 2008

One response to “Eyesore, My Eye!”

  1. Amy Avatar

    You found me before I’ve officially launched my blog site. Once I get my bearings here, I plan to post about my writing and some of that will include how I come up with my writing ideas. In my bio, I include a future blogging schedule that you can follow.

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