For some 30 years now, I’ve been mail-ordering from a little gem called the Vermont Country Store. They sell things it’s hard to find anywhere else, like nightshirts and aprons and shirtwaist dresses and clotheslines.
The most recent issue of their catalogue began with a note from the store owner, Lyman Ortman (fifth-generation Vermonter) about something called the Clothesline Initiative. He referred to it as “civil disobedience,” which I abhor but which seems to go over well with Vermonters, but apparently there are a number of communities where hanging your laundry on a clothesline, in God’s fresh air and sunshine, is actually illegal, and legislation is pending before a number of state legislatures to allow people to put up clotheslines if they please.
SAY WHAT?!?! It’s a clothesline, for crying out loud, not a porn shop or a brothel. But those who ban such pedestrian things as clotheslines appear to feel that it — are you ready for this? — “brings down the property values, and makes the neighborhood look like a slum.” What’s even freakier is that these are the same loonies who will go off the deep end if I wear something made of 100% wool or (gasp) sheepskin or (horrors!) fur. In other words, enviro-freaks, hugging trees left and further left and calling loggers “murderers” (which actually happened to my son one day, when he was engaged in removing a diseased tree, no less), but — Give Up My Dryer, for the sake of the environment?? Oh, the effrontery! The scandal!! The sheer — proletarianism of it all!!!
Get over it. Ten years ago, a family of four could save $200 a year by abandoning its electric dryer, and I can only imagine what that would be in today’s dollars. Even if you live in the Pacific Northwest (sorry, Mimi), where I understand it never stops raining, there is a solution. I recently proved it to myself, when God somehow got the Atlantic Northeast mixed up with the Pacific Northwest and delivered the wettest summer in living memory to New England. You get a drying rack, and you spread your clothes on it. With a little judicious placement, the stuff dries perfectly well in 24 hours. You have more than two people in your household? Get two drying racks. Wash clothes every day. When you do this in the winter, by the way, you don’t need a humidifier — the drying clothes add just the right amount of humidity to the air.
Or, as I did when the kids were little and we were living in Massachusetts, have a back porch built onto your house and hang your clothes out there. There was one two-week spell of rain when I washed and hung out clothes every day, and so help me Hannah, by evening they were bone dry, even though they’d been hanging out of doors all day. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
Anyway, I just had to get this off my chest. The notion of needing a law, for crying out loud, so you can hang your clothes out of doors is just too bizarre to be contemplated. Don’t we have better things to do with our legal system? Like legislate, I don’t know, castration for child molesters?!