The day before I bought my first washer and dryer, Dave explained why he never minded going to the Laundromat. “There are always a lot of women in there,” he said. “And a whole lot of them are completely out of underwear.”

They are marvelously convenient appliances, but I’m well aware that the dryer is an energy hog. So when it was stupid-hot this summer, and I was already pissy about it, I realized I would be damned if I was going to turn it on. I whined about wanting a clothesline to Dave, and whined and whined and stamped my feet, and he got out a rope and strung it up outside. Probably for the clothes.
It was grand. I found a bag of clothespins, my actual childhood clothespins, and I happily began to string up a load of wash. The rope wasn’t really long enough, but by the time I’d gotten to the end of it, in a hot wind that could only have come from Hell or California, the first items were bone dry and ready to peel off. I loved the whole process. I loved how the towels came off stiff. It reminded me of my youth. Mom used a wringer in the basement, and then the clothes went outside to dry. There was a big mulberry tree in the neighbor’s yard with plump purple fruit. Dad liked it because it attracted birds. Mom hated it because it attracted birds. I remember how she used to dry the white sheets and iron them before folding them up just so. Her kids all learned to bake bread like she did, but sheet-ironing died with her generation. I can’t even fold sheets. I’m a wadder.
So I thought our array of drying clothes was rather jolly, but Dave was a little less fervent.

“Great,” he muttered, “there are all our tighty-whities and granny panties flapping out there for all the world to see.”
Honey. Ain’t no one in the neighborhood going to be surprised at our tighty-whities and granny panties. They’ve assumed them for years.
“Am I on Craig’s list? Can I see a copy?” Granny panties.
“The computer needs more memory. I keep forgetting where I put my files.” Tighty-whities.
“I don’t mind if the neighbors have a little party every now and then, but Jeesus Peezus, it’s eight-thirty.” Granny panties.
“Look at that guy walking around with his ass hanging out of his pants. Hey buddy! Ever heard of a belt?” Tighty-whities.

“Four bucks for a cup of coffee? Are they kidding me?” Granny panties.

“I must have gone ten miles without seeing a pay phone. I don’t know what they expect people to do.” Tighty-whities.
“Could you come in here and do that pingy thing with our computer? It keeps freezing up no matter how hard I click on it.” Granny panties.
“Have you seen my, oh, what the hell is that, you know, my…”
“That thing, that thing that you do that thing with, starts with a G…”
“Pipe wrench?” Tighty-whities and granny panties.