This one should be fun.
Just at the thought of laundry, I giggle.
And I’ll tell you why.
But let’s start with a big aphorism first.
One of mine that just lit up in my head.

I think laundry, like a person’s bathroom when guests aren’t expected, reveals the true personality about him. Or her.
From how clean it is to how well organised it’s kept.

I had this neighbour of mine where I grew up.
She was an old spinster.
And I’m saying that not in a derogatory way.
She was with a huge derrière, a teacher in literature, short haircut, thick spectacles, and very mean to all kids (including my brother and I) from our block.
She was an old spinster.
This time said in a derogatory way.
She may have been unpopular among the kids but hell she was a model to all women in the neighbourhood.
Everyone knew Maria’s crispy white underwear laundry.
And by underwear imagine tents.
Saying that not in a derogatory way.
She lived on the first floor and her balcony was right in your face every time you walked out of the block entrance.
You couldn’t miss Maria’s balcony.
Hence, you couldn’t miss Maria’s endless clothesline with white knickers perched like albino pigeons.
You’d see at least twenty of them – I’m serious – in two rows, pegged from one side and the other, stretched and manifesting.
You just couldn’t miss a thing.
If there was a spot on them, you’d spot it.
Of course, not on Maria’s knickers.
Her laundry was Ariel-commercial clean.
And by laundry, I mean her knickers.
They were displayed so right there hitting you in the face.

One very average summer day, on my way out of the block for a game with my friends, I bump into Maria and another neighbour of ours.
Imagine Maria’s description, but that one was married and with curly hair.

The conversation I picked as I passed the two ladies was absolutely hilarious.
It went like this:

“Maria, you’re our pride!”, the married, curly neighbour said.
“Oh, thank you Elena, you’re making me blush now”. Maria fluttered like a Minnie Mouse when Mickey asks her out on a date.
“No, I’m serious Maria. Your laundry is always the cleanest and the whitest in the neighbourhood. I don’t know how you do it, but well done!”. Elena continued with the strokes.

I couldn’t help but giggle to the conversation because why on earth would someone bother about laundry? It’s summer and there’s so much stuff to do, so many games to play. Who cares about laundry?

And now, my husband and I were driving by our own (new) neighbourhood, here in Malta, and I was looking at the clotheslines and the clothes racks around the houses and the house yards and the balconies, and couldn’t help but giggle seeing all these clothes hanging like someone has beaten the life out of them.

And I thought of my childhood memory of the old spinster Maria and her endless clothesline of huge white knickers and what was so exemplary about it, when all I could think back then – after I overheard the conversation – was, for how long was she actually piling them dirty before she washed them?
Of course, that was just a kid’s thought – the other neighbours thought Maria was a squeaky clean lady.


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