» Archive for February, 2009

Inadvertent intimacy

Saturday, February 7th, 2009 by kara

I’m a very tactile and (in some respects) private person, and I tend to read a lot into the most banal experiences.  For example, laundry.  What type of laundry detergent do you use?  Do you use fabric softeners, or a dryer sheet?  Are you a bleach person, or Clorox 2, or do you use both at different times?  Do you have clothes that tend to retain the scent of your perfume or the odor of your workplace even through laundering?

Just walking by someone else’s house during laundry day can give one an intimate glimpse into someone else’s life.  What’s more intimate than the scent of cleaning your clothes?  Yet your clothes dryer exhausts right out into the yard, giving the neighbors, your meter man, ANY casual passers-by a whiff of your wet-goose-feather comforter, or the lovely lavender-vanilla dryer sheets you use, or the weird plastic+sweat scent your Lycra yoga pants and jogbra give off when they’re wet and heated by the dryer.

Whether the scent is pleasant or furtive, I savor the experience of other peoples’ dryer vents.  It’s almost on the same level as experiencing someone else’s cologne, or finding out that an acquaintance prefers cedarwood-scented candles in their home.  I feel almost as if I’ve gained a valuable bit of data about someone if I can identify their laundry detergent or dryer sheet, and I enjoy the clean, cozy scent of laundry fresh from the dryer.

For those of you who don’t have access to my dryer vent (and frankly if you went to the trouble of seeking me and my dryer vent out, it would be kind of creepy) I use method brand laundry detergent, in Sweet Water scent, and Arm and Hammer Essentials Lavender and White Linen dryer sheets.  I don’t use a fabric softener in the washer (why put petroleum products on freshly-laundered fabrics?) but I like the scent of these, and the fact that they’re derived from plants, and they offer SOME static relief.

Maybe I’m out of line.  Maybe I’m weirdly affected by scent.  Or maybe I’ve just given voice to something that has occurred to each of us in the secret portion of our minds, something that we contemplate briefly and then put it away again immediately with all the other errant thoughts that are best left unexamined.  Which is it, people?