today i did the ironing.
wait! don't click off until i explain. i hate ironing. not just like i hate the war in iraq or the urinous taste of brussels sprouts. i mean, i really really loathe it.
the mystery is that everything i know about myself suggests that i should like ironing. i am a neatnik, a clean freak, a perfectionist. i approve of HGTV shows that depict clutter as a moral failing, and -- yes, let me be honest: i judge the unkempt. moreover, when i'm around ironing, i love its sensuousness: the smell of hot clean cotton, the rush of steam to the face, the visual pleasure of sharp sleeve creases lined up at the ready for another week of work. i love being around someone else who's ironing. but as for me? i'd rather peel the skin off the soles of my feet.
ironing is, in our household, The Job That No One Loves and therefore The Job That No One Does. oh, for an ironing dobby! happily for me in most respects, my mo is a laundry fetishist. alas, her pleasures stop when the dryer buzzes. she doesn't even really like folding and putting away, though she does them. but when it comes to ironing: well, we have a doorknob where we hang the wrinklies for weeks that turn into months at a time. and when that spot fills up, we find another. and another.
oh, of course i've taken the easy route out and sent clothes to the cleaners. but ever since i saw a TV special on how women get charged 50% more than men for the same garments, i've been on strike against dry cleaners. i could just hire people to press our clothes, i suppose, but it strikes me as inconceivably decadent. what's next: bellhops? no, i'm not valet-parking people.
periodically mo, ever optimistic that all we need is the right tool, comes home with a new clothes steamer. "have you seen them using these in the stores?," she'll ask, pumped. "it's amazing. all you do is plug it in, leave it for 40 minutes, then fill the little cavity with distilled water gathered from the desert floor, then leave it for another 25 minutes, then hang your shirt or whatever on this pole -- we don't have a pole like that but we'll get one -- and then you run the steamer down the front of the shirt or whatever for, like, twenty minutes, cast this spell (don't worry, there's a DVD) and the wrinkles fall right out! it was advertised on TV." i can tell already that this gadget will go the way of the Flowbee and the BetaMax, but for one brilliant second, i get a hint of what it might be like to live A Life Without Ironing, and i let myself get excited too.
i've done many shameful things to avoid ironing (two words: permanent press) but by far the worst was dating a psychopath with a military background. hey, those air force girls know how to iron! when i realized her stories about sexual abuse were made up -- can there be a more despicable act? -- i rationalized that she'd see the errors of her ways eventually. and wasn't it kind of a fair trade: me, guiding her to feminist consciousness, she filling the closet with crisp clean clothes? even when i discovered she was cheating with my then-best friend, my indignation was tempered by nostalgia for perfect plackets.
i've tried tricking myself into ironing, and goading myself, berating, seducing, and annoying myself into it. sometimes i'll set up the ironing board right on laundry day. the rule is: no taking it down til the ironing is done. amazingly, for a person who can't stand storing the toaster on the kitchen counter, i discover the capacity to step around the ironing board in the middle of the bedroom, the living room, the hall. then i give up, fold it away and store it -- wait, where do we store the ironing board?
my latest tactic is to break up the task into small bits. iron one shirt, check my email. iron another, and i get to go to the gym, watch mo play a hockey game, try out a new curry recipe, catch up with my friends in the pacific northwest, and blog a little. now that this post is drawing to a close, i can see the evening stretching flatly out in front of me.
oh, but wait, i have that hateful academic article to revise. okay, let's say those are my options. i can iron or i can edit.
this should be interesting.