The smug washing line
It’s not mine. And shame on me for writing it, but, it’s the neighbours. Every morning, no matter what time I get up, and I admit I am not the earliest of risers, when I get down to the kitchen there it is, full of washing, taunting me and my lazy ways.
It rained heavily overnight, it kept me awake for a while. The forecast is not good. How come then, next door have managed to find a brief window of general weather loveliness for their clothes to dance on the line. And all the while I have been dozing, or reading in bed, thinking that laundry was off the menu today.
It never used to be this way. I had my one single clothesline strung between the house and green garden shed: one end too high for me to access, the other overgrown by the butterfly bush. They had a triangular rotary line, round the corner and hidden from my view. Their laundry habits, were and remain, none of my business. However, this year they put up a single wire, like mine, running in full view of my kitchen window. It’s not my business, but it’s under my nose.
I am the kind of person who hangs out washing for it to get more wet in the rain. I am the kind of person that returns from a week’s holiday to find that I have left the washing on the line. I am the kind of person who has piles of laundry in the dining room. I don’t do envy, but still.
Here’s the biggest mystery though. The neighbour’s line is full every day, with at least one load, on a sunny day: two or more. And I swear I never see them wear half the clothes on the line. The black and white number rubbing my nose in it this morning – the lady of the house is always well turned out, but not in that outfit. Who is wearing all these clothes?
And here’s my final thing – I never hang underwear on the line. It dries discreetly elsewhere. There are no such sensibilities next door: the line is regularly used as an exhibition space for bras and underpants. I wonder if my own aversion comes from a country upbringing, where a young miscreant was once cautioned for shooting knickers off washing lines in the village for the sake of entertainment and target practice. Whatever.
Here’s my dining room in a recent incarnation. Nothing smug here, I hope. Taken to send to a friend who was asking my advice about criteria for tidiness – this was to illustrate I was definitely the wrong person to ask…
The washing line visible through the door is the other next door neighbour’s and there’s nothing smug about their line. They didn’t used to use pegs. I use pegs: three per two items of washing, no gaps. The smug line has two pegs per item and a space between. I suppose some would say I have low standards. They might be right.
P.S. It’s started chucking it down and the washing next door has been taken in. I, on the other hand, have some to hang out.