Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Old Washer Man


Today I want to talk about something I hate. I guess most people who read this post will agree with me.

I’m talking about washing clothes and all the pain that involves.

As an equal partner in a relationship, I am keen not to inflict the pain of washing on Mrs PM, although if she were to volunteer to take on the responsibility of all aspects of keeping our clothes clean, I would gladly hand it over and make her sign her name in blood to ensure that I never have to do it again.

Alas, that is not to be and on a regular basis I am called upon to attack this tedious task with fake enthusiasm.

Some male readers will have no clue what I am talking about.

One guy I used to know claimed that the laundry basket was a miracle of modern science.

“Why?” asked a particularly ferocious woman who worked with us.

“Every day I put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket and, hey presto, a few days later they are magically transformed ; I open my wardrobe and there they are, lovely and clean and pressed.”

I thought the woman was going to explode in rage.

Each stage of washing clothes is a pain in the arse, to put it bluntly; even something as mundane as putting them in the washing machine.

When I first started washing my clothes as a student, I had many mishaps, like the brand new jeans I bought that turned my best white shirt into various shades of blue. I wouldn’t have minded but it wasn’t a uniform distribution of colour; my crisp white shirt had huge blotches of blue of varying intensity making it impossible to wear without looking like a mad goon.



And this has happened repeatedly.

On another occasion, a rogue red sock somehow found its way into a basket full of white clothes and rampaged through them in the washing machine, freely distributing its red colour randomly amongst the perfect white cloth. When I opened the washing machine it looked like all of my whites had been murdered in a horrific bloodbath.




All of this means that I have to painstakingly sort all of the clothes out into piles to make sure that nothing is ruined by murderous colours.

And that brings me to the next point – sorting through shreddies. This is not a pleasant experience even when the shreddies are your own. Underwear is nasty – but my dirty socks are dangerous creatures that need to be handled with care.

The biological suit I had to buy cost me a fortune.



When the washing machine has done its job, unloading it is a pain. The washing machine can mutate your clothes. I’ve already mentioned inadvertently dying your best whites – but sometimes the machine has another couple of surprises. A slight error can cause your clothes to shrink to the point where they are too small for a cat, or to grow so that the only creature they would fit is a deformed troll. Again, washing machines tend to favour new and expensive clothes for this unscheduled punishment.

Living in the UK makes drying clothes difficult because you never know when it will rain. In the summer you can hang out the washing and then the next minute, a thunderstorm will appear and completely soak you newly washed laundry with dirty rain.

If it doesn’t rain, Mother Nature has other ways of ruining your efforts; birds can still crap all over your nice clean shirt, or, if you haven’t pegged up the washing properly, your beautiful clean clothes can end up in the dirt, or resting on a nice fresh pile of cat shit.

And the final operation is ironing, something that I hate with a passion. In the past, I have burned shirts and burned myself. Ironing is a punishment that I am convinced Satan will impose upon me if I end up meeting him in the afterlife.

“You are sentenced to iron my shreddies for the rest of eternity!”


“NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!”

Anyway, I’d like to finish on a lighter note as I am sure that I have invoked horrific laundry related episodes in your life. I apologise for that, dear reader.

Back in 1976, a song entered the UK charts that was so dreadful it was hilarious. I am convinced to this day it was totally tongue in cheek.

It has the greatest laundry lyrics in the world ever:

She was sharing her spin dryer with a guy in a tie-dye
When she saw my reflection in the chrome
I knew that she'd seen me 'cause she dropped her bikini
The one that I got her in Rome.

Little does she know that I know that she knows
That I know she's two-timin' me
Little does she know that I know that she knows
That I know she's cheatin' on me

When she finished her laundry she was all in a quandary
And made for the street like a hare
Her escape was so urgent, she forgot her detergent
And dropped all her clean underwear

The song is called “Little Does She Know” by the Kursaal Flyers.



There is something the singer can console himself with – at least his two-timing girlfriend did her own laundry.

15 comments:

Grace said...

Ironing? What's that??? While I like doing laundry - the machines do all the work - folding is fun (except for socks) - I like every thing folded just so and get a nice sense of accomplishment from it - and every thing looks so nice and tidy in the dresser drawers, dontcha' know BUT IRONING? I stopped doing that decades ago - My husband's dress shirts go to the cleaners and aside from those there is nothing else to iron! Yay!!

Oh, and I don't sort laundry - never lost any socks or had colors run...of course I've never owned anything white either...

Pandora Behr said...

Where do you find some of these songs? Still think Lisa Mitchell's Coin Laundry is the best song about washing.

And don't knock ironing - LOVE ironing.

Cool post.
P

Kath said...

Shameful confession about to be made here - I don't mind doing the washing.

There. I said it.

Don't HATE me....!

I find it a satisfying job when I'll do anything to avoid hoovering, dusting and cooking.

(scuttles off back to her dark corner of shame).

The Elephant's Child said...

Ironing is vile and hateful. And I make more for myself because I do like the feel of ironed pillowcases. One of my sisters-in-law irons sheets but I am not that insane.

River said...

I don't find doing the washing at all painful.
I shove the clothes in the machine, turn the dial and walk away. 50 minutes later I pull the clothes out and hang them to dry.
Here's a few hints.
#1 never buy anything that can't safely be tossed in the machine.
(no hand knits, no silk...)
#2 keep your whites in a separate basket. Always.
#3 buy wash'n'wear so no ironing is involved
#4 use anti-fungal powder on your feet every day to reduce the feralness of your socks.
#5 shake things well before hanging and hang as straight as possible. This reduces the need for ironing.

If all else fails, use strong deodorants and wear the same shirt and pants all week, with patterned ties wide enough and colourful enough to catch and disguise spills.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

I really should find a way to avoid ironing. I find that I leave it until the time I need a shirt - and then I have to do battle with a mountain that is almost as big as Ben Nevis.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I may have found a way to avoid ironing - send it down under to you.

;-)

BTW I remember the song from my childhood and the reason it stuck in my head were the lyrics and the appearance of the lead singer. He's a rather strange looking individual IMHO.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

OK - my washing is going to Geneva. Can you forward it to Australia for me for ironing?

A word of warning - beware the socks.

Oh - and if you DO our washing every week Mrs PM and I will LOVE you!!! That's how shallow and easy to please we are.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

OK - my washing is going to Geneva. Can you forward it to Australia for me for ironing?

A word of warning - beware the socks.

Oh - and if you DO our washing every week Mrs PM and I will LOVE you!!! That's how shallow and easy to please we are.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I know somebody close to you who LOVES ironing.

(Sorry Pand).

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I wear my socks for weeks - that's why they are feral. In fact, they could probably find their own way to Geneva or Australia for you or Kath to wash.

Thankfully I don't iron socks - who would?

:0)

Cheers

PM

DelGal said...

Dearest PM -

HA! Hilarious song!

But seriously, I hate doing laundry too, don't get me started! :)

On a totally nerd note, I've noticed the major differences in laundry appliances in the US and UK. I was shocked how small washers are in the UK and there aren't many dryers to pick from. Over here I guess companies are trying to cater to ppl who hate washing coz they now have washer/dryers in various colors and they're raised so you don't have to bend over so much (not to mention they're HUGE). Next I guess there'll be WiFi and tvs in the washers like they've got with refrigerators now.
Oh, and if you don't want to iron work shirts, you can by no-iron ones, they're worth the extra money.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lady from Delaware,

I think TV and wifi or even a library of books/magazines is a good idea in a laundrette. When I used to use them many years ago, I would go the pub while waiting for my load to finish. I don't know about the US but in the UK they are depressing, soulless places.

:0)

Cheers

PM

drb said...

LOL
I should show Rob this blog as he can then share your woes. According to him, I don't know how to operate the washing machine as I haven't done ay laundry for 10 years. On the other hand, I haven't asked him to wash a single cutlery or crockery in our house.

Divide and conqure.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I know how to operate both the washing machine and the dishwasher - and the hoover - and all the DIY tools - and all the gadgets - and the garden equipment.

So does Mrs PM - but in here eyes, she operates them more than I do.

That is of course, wholly untrue.

:-)

Cheers

PM