Laundromat musings

Our washing machine broke a couple of weeks ago, so I've gotten to make a couple of trips to a nearby laundromat while we look for a good used replacement. It's been years (and years) since I've done my laundry at a laundromat, but there's nothing like a room full of humming machines and the smell of dyer sheets for a little deep thinking.

Like the thought that sometimes convenience has a hidden dark side: things that streamline time consuming tasks give us more time that we then fill with other tasks or activities, which can lead to a feeling of frantic, frenzied, overworked, and overscheduled. Multi-tasking has become a prized virtue (and it is a nice skill to have to some degree, don't get me wrong), and we forget the value that can be found in doing one thing at a time. I think about a conversation I had over breakfast one day with some women a couple of generations older than me. We were talking about ironing, and someone mentioned how when they were young they still held to that old weekly schedule that looked similar to what Laura Ingles introduced me to in Little House in the Big Woods: "wash (clothes) on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday, churn on Thursday, clean on Friday, bake on Saturday, rest on Sunday."

Don't get me wrong -- I am extremely grateful for modern conveniences. I'm grateful that I don't have to wash all my clothes by hand, butcher my own meat, or make my own clothes. I'm a huge fan of indoor plumbing, and air conditioning, and vacuums so I don't have to spend hours outside beating the dirt out of my rugs (although that sounds like some good anger therapy right there). But I think that sometimes we're so far away from the lack of our modern conveniences that we're not always aware of what we've traded in to have them. That said, I doubt that anyone at the laundromat with me (except maybe the owner) if offered a free washer and dryer for their home would have said "No thanks I'm good. Using the laundromat really helps me slow down and gives me a break from the busyness of life." Those free in-home washers and dryers would be snatched up in a hot second.

So what's my point? Do I even have a point? (not really -- that's why they're called musings) Maybe...recognize those areas of life where you do have a choice, and if trying to multitask every moment of your life is driving you insane maybe see if there's an area of life where you can choose a different way of doing things. Maybe...remember to be grateful. I'm not always good at that, but gratitude has a significant impact on my mood and outlook.

Oh, and the other thing going to the laundromat taught me: there is actually something pretty magical about all of those washing machines in one room. By that, I mean the ability to wash every single thing AT THE SAME TIME. 30 minutes and done. (Down side -- the enormous pile of clean clothes to be folded after)