A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Clothesline. Well, not so funny, actually. David and I made a hurry-up trek down to Mayo. Still trying to get a handle on esophagus spasms – an issue that seems to have no handle. But the good news is that I had The Clothesline waiting for me when I got back.
The political arena is the premier location for hanging out dirty laundry. Think Spitzer. Vitter. Craig. Abramoff. Bush. Bush. Bush. Then there’s the matter of faux dirty laundry, as pegged to the line by a couple of presidential wannabes. Yes, Hillary and John, I’m talkin’ about you. Druther not have your disgusting grubbies in my back yard. Hang on! There's more.
When it comes to the real deal, my personal clothesline is just a short walk from The Clotheslineblog. Lookin’ forward to more snow melt so I can get back to hanging out sheets and shirts. I can do this because I live in the home of the free and the land of the brave. (Brave in my case because our next door neighbors own pit bulls.)
People in New England are not so lucky! In certain states, they are forbidden to hang laundry out to dry. Why? Because bloomers blowing in the breeze are offensive to some individuals’ delicate sensibilities. Even as people strive to reduce their carbon footprint via their clotheslines, some folks liken clean clothes flapping in the breeze to the unsightly mess of junkers littering a driveway. I am so not kidding. (sigh)
It will not surprise you that here at the Clotheslineblog, we’re verklempt. Civil liberties are on the line, so to speak. Imagine our relief when we learned that one Alexander Lee of Concord NH has founded a group named Project Laundry List that supports the right to line-dry clothes.
According to this Boston Globe article:
“Project Laundry List, which keeps track of neighborhoods where outdoor drying is banned, has found no-clothesline zones across the country, usually in subdivisions or condominium complexes. A handful of towns throughout the country also prohibit outdoor drying within their borders.”
The Globe also interviewed an 85-year-old woman who is determined to find a more environmentally responsible way to dry her clothes. Since her condo association takes a dim view of line drying, she is forced to hang her wet laundry from her ceiling fan and light fixtures. And so she does.
America, get real! Clothesline-dried laundry is fundamental to our way of life. What is the problem here? It’s not as if people are baring their bums or raising goats and chickens in their yards. No. It’s clean. It’s harmless. Line-drying is reminiscent of an earlier, more neighborly time. I’ve written about this before.
The Globe story continues:
“If you imagine driving into a community where the yards have clothes hanging all over the place, I think the aesthetics, the curb appeal, and probably the home values would be affected by that, because you can’t let one homeowner do it and say no to the next,” said Frank Rathbun, a spokesman for the Community Associations Institute, a national group based in Virginia that represents thousands of homeowner and condominium associations, many of which restrict clotheslines.
When we were traveling in Scotland and Ireland, countryside and urban yards sported clotheslines (see photo that accompanies this core issue post). Our friends, who live in a tony Irish community, hang their clothes outside to dry. Apparently no one there believes that grundies generate property value decline.
My new hero, Alexander Lee, believes the clothesline needs an image update.
“We want Martha [Stewart] and Oprah [Winfrey] to make the clothesline into a pennant of eco-chic,” he said, “instead of a flag of poverty.”
Huzzah! Now I can sleep at night, knowing that The Clothesline has a principled advocate! Et tu?