This weekend was perfect weather for hanging laundry. I am a great fan of hanging laundry when the weather is at all cooperative. I grew up hanging it outside from early March to late October, which involves some rather chilly temperatures in which to be handling wet clothes. I'm not that hard core but the kids know if I hear a dryer running between April and September they better well have sought permission to do so. My mother-in-law lives in a community which bans washlines. This kind of thinking baffles me and you couldn't give me a house for free in such a place. Hanging the laundry was one of my very first chores when I was a wee Lime. Back then it was a chore, over time it became a peaceful ritual. So this weekend I was especially enjoying the job when Mr. Lime broke into my meditations.
Mr Lime: Is there a particular reason you hang the wash with such precision? I mean all the pants together, all the t-shirts, everything separated by whose laundry it is? Why so methodical? It will still dry if the socks are all interspersed among everything else.
Me: Yes, it will still dry no matter how it's hung but it pleases me to do it this way. It's a zen thing. Order out of disorder. Visually balanced.
Mr. Lime: Wouldn't balanced be if all the long things were on either end and the short things in the middle or vice verse?
Me: That would be symmetrical and one version of balance. This is a different type of balance.
Mr. Lime: Do you need me to help hang it?
Me: I'm content to hang it myself. It's a meditation I enjoy but if you want to carry the basket that would be great.
Mr. Lime: (smirking) You're just afraid I'd mess it up, aren't you?
Me: (matching smirk for smirk) I'm not sure you are ready for the meditation.
Mr. Lime: (feigning offense) Whaddya mean???
Me: Look at all these clothepins left dangling on the line from last time when someone else hung the laundry.
Mr. Lime: So???
Lime: Breaks up the balance, interferes with the meditation.
Mr. Lime: (stunned) It's more efficient!
Lime: Grasshopper, you have much to learn. This is not about pure efficiency. The meditation cannot be rushed. There is a rhythm in achieving the balance.
Mr. Lime: (utterly incredulous) You're completely insane!!!
Me: (serenely) The student is not ready to receive what the master has to give.
Mr. Lime: (taking a deep breath as he carries the next basket behind me) Shouldn't you be chanting "Om" or something to prepare for this?
Me: No need. I live the zen of laundry. I'm one with it.
Mr. Lime: (insistently) But you're just diving into this! You haven't prepared!
Me: Grasshopper, I was preparing last night for this moment, when I saw the weather would be good.
Mr. Lime: (hopefully) So you're excited about the washline as I carry the basket?
Mr. Lime: Then you should be dancing gleefully!
Me: Animation is not required. This is meditation. It's serenity. It's zen.
Mr. Lime: (sarcastically) So how'd YOU get to be this great master?
Me: It started when I was 6 and trained by hanging it alone in the cold weather. It was further developed when I worked in a nursing home laundry. It was honed when I had a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler and no help. I am the master. You are the novice.
Mr. Lime: (very upset) But you're not preparing!!!!!!!!
Lime: Grasshopper, you try my patience. You are making meditation impossible with all this chatter and argument.
Mr. Lime: (after a few moments of silence, once we have re-entered the house and I am folding now dry laundry...also a meditation) So does watching laundry dry make you happy too?
Lime: Explain what you mean.
Mr Lime: Do you like to see it blowing in the breeze? Is that zen too?
Lime: It is calming.
Mr. Lime: So if I got you a video of laundry flapping around in scenic locations, like at the ocean or in the mountains, that would be a good birthday present?
Me: (arching a single eyebrow) One cannot manufacture or mass produce the experience...AND...you called ME completely insane?