Sunday, February 27, 2011
On Design-- Laundry Hangers
I know you're all secretly dancing in your bedrooms, seeing our socks and all--but this is about the hanger and the laundry poles. I bring up this most mundane of subjects because my husband, recently talking about Arizona and using the drier at my parents' house, wanted to know why they even *had* a drier. I said I had no idea why, since in the summer clothes dry even faster outside than in a drier (and don't shrink up to boot). But... actually I do know why. And it's to do with a certain rising level of suburban snobbery that has spread across America that says "Heaven *forbid* anyone should see my laundry outside." Never mind the energy savings, the ecological... logicality of it, the fact that practically the whole of the rest of the world does. Ewww. That's just so...countrified. One of the longest comment threads generated (over 450) at a personal finance blog I read occasionally was over the blog author's intention to save money by hanging his laundry outside to dry. I was both amused and dismayed by the number of commenters who were aghast at his entertaining the idea at all (American commenters, I should say--European commenters couldn't figure out why he was so hesitant to do it and so worried about what the neighbors would think).
I don't need to worry about it, though--there isn't an apartment anywhere in Japan (unless they are *very* tall) that doesn't have hooks descending from the ceiling of the back porch to hold long laundry pole for shirt hangers and multi-pinch hangers. On sunny days everybody has laundry, futons, blankets, pillows out drying--and nobody thinks a thing about it. There are, I'm sure, some slightly uptight housewives who take care to hang up the undies inside, but I'm not one of them. It all goes outside.
When Teddy was about a year old and had just learned to walk, he used to follow me out onto the porch while I pulled things out of the laundry basket and hung them up to dry. It took me weeks to figure out why I kept finding my underwear down below (four floors) on the ground...until I happened to look over at just the right moment and catch Teddy plucking my best pair of underwear (which I trust you can imagine for yourself) from the top of the laundry basket and sticking his little hand into one of the spaces between safety glass panels and poi! Why--why!--didn't he ever once throw Papa's boxer shorts from our fourth floor balcony??
I love my laundry-pinchy-hanger-upper-thingies. They have no particular name that I know of, but no matter. They are unbelievably useful and save me a huge chunk on the electric bill every month. They are inexpensive, lightweight, fold-able, and easily stored. And, after some initial resistance, I decided I prefer hanging it outside to listening to a noisy drier and the resulting shrunken sleeves and pant legs that fit when I bought them. On a warm, sunny day when the Uguisu (Bush Warbler) has begun to sing, it's my favorite household task.
Mata asobou, ne!
(p.s.-- Full Disclosure: During the Rainy Season, I do sometimes wish desperately for a drier and have used laundromat drier to get things dry that otherwise wouldn't dry out 'til August...)