WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

BLOG

Airing My Scottish Laundry

IMG_3866 2.JPG

Last summer the family went to Scotland.  We stayed in a hobbit-esque cottage in St. Andrews with nooks, crannies, and character galore.  I loved pretty much everything about our Scottish home, but my favorite feature was the indoor clothesline hanging over the dining room table.  Get this, its multiple lines could be lowered (for loading) or raised (when eating at the table). 

I’ve always loved to do laundry.  In fact, I enjoy it so much I have no enjoyment left over for any other household chore.  Consequently, I was happy as a Scottish clam with my elf sized washing machine and indoor clothesline.  I immediately set to sorting darks and lights. 

My husband urged me not to do laundry.  His view was it was vacation and vacations aren’t meant for household chores.  Still, we all know what is one spouse’s trash is another’s treasure, and my Scottish laundry possibilities thrilled me to no end.  So, he shifted his request and asked that I at least use the outdoor versus indoor clothesline.

But the out-of-doors line was dicey.  In addition to the frequent pop-up rainstorms, there was a ferocious flock of gulls with fierce aiming capabilities.  My first two laundry loads were pooped on in no time.  I got the message.

Besides, something about looking up at clean, air drying skivvies as I served haggis made me hopeful.  All that fresh laundry right out in the open seemed to stand for a bold willingness to open ourselves to one another, share our good and bad, and own every last bit of it. 

The banana-print bikini underwear my son got for my husband last Father’s Day swung right beside the staid plaid boxers.  My vanity-sized jeans hung right beside the ones with more accurate sizing and dared anyone to find differences in their girth or width.  My older daughter’s 15 shirts, four shorts, and seven pairs of leggings reminded me she’ll be a superstar; she’s already practiced in costume changes.  In contrast, my younger daughter’s single, practical ensemble nodded to her own superstardom.  I’ve no doubt she will save the world in a simple black dress.  And, finally, noting my son’s clothes’ absence from the line testified to how cute people can be despite forsaking baths, rarely changing clothes, and smelling a little ripe.

The constant thump and whir of my stateside electric dryer never gives me these kinds of gifts.  Its piles of warm clothes and towels give me a tangible task I can complete in a reasonable amount of time, and that feels awfully good some days.  But visions of some of my favorite people living lives out loud – not so much.  So, I’m advocating for a clothesline over our U.S. home’s dining table.  Here’s to the dreams dancing above my kids’ chicken nuggets. 

Whitney Cain