Once upon a time I announced I fancied setting up a clothesline. Someone gave me an incredulous look I have seen only a few times in my life: once when I thought of dying my hair platinum blonde and another time when I considered taking up Morris dancing. “A clothesline!?” he asked, what for? We have a very efficacious dryer within walking distance. I explained I’ve read clothes hung out to dry on a clothesline have an amazing smell. In the arid air our undies would dry oh so quickly, we would save on electricity, and sniffing our Mack Weldons will elicit euphoria no dryer can do. I’ve also read there is a quiet satisfaction from hanging up clothes and standing back to admire one’s industry. What’s not to love?
I don’t know Someone’s equivalent of ‘Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury’ but this may be close. He quickly played the HOA trump card: a clothesline was probably illegal. Besides, the dust and pollutants of the Phoenix Valley air would leave a light dusting on the clothes, spoiling any hopes for a ‘fresh air’ redolence.
He may be right. He usually is. I sense what is really the matter is the perception of what a clothesline symbolizes, based on a difference of backgrounds. For me, a clothesline with sheets and shirts flapping in the breeze sounds charming while for Someone this awful vision conjures up an image of poor folks who can’t afford a dryer. The neighbors will think us no better than Clampetts. With a clothesline you might as well have chickens and a rusty broken car in the front yard.
All the same a clothesline sounds jolly good fun. When we go swimming I drape my towel and trunks on the back of a patio chair to dry and this work fine, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction like a line of clothes flapping in the breeze like nautical flags. Alas, I am not going to find out. I suppose if Someone should go away on a long errand I could put one a line on the sly. I would insist on proper wooden clothespins for the total clothesline experience. To complete the scene imagine Urs Truly in bunny slippers and hair curlers. It could happen. Just don’t tell Someone.