Thursday, September 28, 2006

Panty Conventions

"Susan, you got like a panty convention goin' on in here..." said my friend Tyrone as we stopped off in the laundry room of my old apartment while giving him a tour of the place. Four years later, and when ever I do my laundry, I still have "panty conventions" as Tyrone called them, and I revel in every single minute of these conventions...

I love doing laundry. There is something methodic and soothing about sorting all of my dirty clothes. It is very orderly. Darks in one pile; whites in another; medium colors and everything in between in yet a third grouping. Sometimes you have to make tricky decisions, like to which pile should a t-shirt with multi-colored stripes go? Many of the colors are dark enough to make them qualify for the all-dark cold-water load, but there might be just enough white or light pink in the garment to make it a perfectly viable contender for the medium load. Most of the time, there is only one lucid choice. And sometimes in life, that's a relief. Knowing there is really only once place for something feels better sometimes than having too many options...(Does this mean that when it comes to laundry, communism is good?)

I tend to wash almost all my clothes on the delicate cycle. There is just something comforting in knowing that my clothes are getting a little extra TLC, even if maybe they don't need it. My undergarments, or silkies as Steph used to call them, make the prettiest displays when I dry them. While they are on the drying rack, they are still sorted by color, thus creating the foundation for a panty convention, which is a bunch of panties (10 pair at least) all laying down side by side in color coordinated rows, or rainbows of different colors, all drying together. They must be laid flat, and of course they must be clean to be eligible for the convention. Full-back bikini briefs get their own section, and g-strings occupy their own space, and they never comingle.

Perhaps the best thing about doing laundry is the memories that flood from the past weeks or days when sorting through the clothes. Even smelly sweatshirts seem beautiful when I remember that the reason the sweatshirt got sweaty and dirty was because I took a long beautiful hike in the hills surrounding San Francisco with a friend. Or, those extra strands of dog hair on my jogging suit are welcomed souvenirs of some good snuggles with my parents' dogs. Dirty clothes mean I've been living my life and doing things outside to get me dirty or make me sweat...and I like the idea of that.

My least favorite part of laundry is putting the clean clothes away after they've been folded...but I suppose if I just think that putting them away makes them one step closer to being worn again, and thus to being primed to take on some memorable dirt then it's not such a bad step in the circle of my laundry after all.