To Soak or not?

Soak no more,

No sweetie I did not think of an umbrella, for I love soaking myself in the rain.  Nor did I think of the shower.

Of course a will-o-wisp of warm water with lavender fragrance did flash, but I love soaking my feet too.

Know something; to the Egyptians a pair of legs in water would symbolize a launder, as that’s how they cleaned their dirty linen.

Soak no more, throws a stronger image, of the fairy of the washing well, or Naiads of the river front saying, “Soak no more for you pollute my waters.”

I was visiting this niece and nephew who just had a baby, she was doing the dishes, and he was cleaning the house, I burst out with happiness, don’t ask me why. In their minds they were in this terrible domestic rut.  But we have all been there haven’t we.

Ask Barbara Dale “Behind every working woman, is an enormous pile of unwashed laundry.”  Talking about Laundry, Soak No more in that contest sounds euphoric!!  Manna!! A Utopia. I put off laundry for so long that I needed to use three Laundromats to get it done.

My mother-in-law calls it Arvi samudra or the Ocean of clothes in honour of the Kannada name for the Arabian Sea,  Arabi samundra.

The sheer overwhelming torture of it all, sort, the whites, the blacks, the hand wash, the pre-soaks, Mt. Washmore seems unscaleable.

Each night I go to bed wishing that the elves would visit me and I could wake up to a wash cycle done, ironing finished and clothes in their racks. I even have tiny thank you gifts for them. But the elves seem to find my address at Lapataganj. This laundry story is an old one.

I don’t remember my mother ever playing with me. And she was a perfectly good mother. But she had to do the laundry and clean the house and do the grocery shopping.

After washing there was no place to pour the water except out of the window on the heads of the people in the streets, which is the proper place to throw everything that is not wanted, advised my friend Ellsworth Huntington and I go with it.

If this sounds tedious, here is an extract for “the recollections of a southern matron, 1838”by Caroline Howard Gilman. …the clothes were brought forth to be washed, and for the first time I took my place at the wash tub. It was not long before I rubbed the skin from my hands and the pain and smart of the soap was intolerable; still I did not dare to complain. It was fortunate that I was called from the wash tub frequently to do other work about the house or I would not have gotten through the day.

By the way do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean and are entertained till they drop? If you have answered.”A house guest,” you are wrong, because I have just described my kids!!

My daughter has an excellent retort to this,”Amma don’t you tell me to live each day of my life as if it were the last day of my life, tell me who on earth spends their last day on earth doing laundry?!?”

There is one NO SOAK that I would RESENT, that is my  inability to soak in an atmosphere, an idea, .

2 Replies to “To Soak or not?”

  1. Your writings are poetic. This is humourous too.
    This one reminds me of a college batch-mate who would buy cheap undergarments from a footpath vendor and wear them one after the other till he stinks and would throw each one away. That was his answer to the drudgery. You daughter too has a good humour. Congratulate her on my behalf.

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