In a rare turn of events, this story is written
entirely by Anna of Team Frymire with only
three or four or five interjections by Scout.
(Scout benevolently gave his very
smallest Stamp of Approval.)
Laundry and I have a complex relationship. The first time I remember meeting Laundry was when I was seven years old. My mom had a plastic, fuchsia tub and Laundry would pile in there right after she finished sunning on the clothesline. I remember how much I liked Laundry and how great I felt wearing clothes that smelled like the wind and sun. Throughout childhood, I appreciated Laundry and gladly helped Laundry get organized as she piled up. But then high school hit and, suddenly, spending time with Laundry was a chore.
I’m not sure when Laundry and my give-and-take began, but after years of misunderstanding, Laundry and I have cultivated a healthy respect for one another. Laundry knows that I can’t stand when she goes days without a wash and I know that Laundry feels like I often overstep and demand her to be perfect when she doesn’t mind a lint ball or two.
Scout just shakes his head when he thinks back to the early morning misunderstandings between Laundry and I when Laundry was supposed to dry overnight, but didn’t. I told Laundry that I had work and had to find an outfit. Laundry just lounged there on the drying rack as if to say, “Give me one day off. I work 24/7.” Sometimes, Laundry’s demands overwhelm me and I just ignore her for days. Only occasionally do I acknowledge her when I’m desperate for socks. Sometimes I’m so annoyed by this frantic sock search that I abort the mission all together and buy new socks. But within days, those new socks join Laundry and then they ALL conspire against me as their small pile grows into a monstrous mountain. At these desperate times, I’m forced to acknowledge Laundry. It’s usually Scout that gives me a judgmental stare as Laundry piles up on the couch and I reluctantly admit that I can’t keep walking past as if she’s not there.
Daniel, of course, never comments on Laundry and my tumultuous interactions. This isn’t 1950’s Alabama. Laundry, Scout, and I all know that men can no longer comment about Laundry with the women in their lives. In 21st century America, society reluctantly accepts that women may choose to acknowledge Laundry or ignore her. Women are free and with this liberation comes a complete and utter lack of clean socks.
Now please don’t misunderstand and think that Daniel and Laundry never interact. They actually possess a mutual respect. Daniel never comments on Laundry’s size or makes Laundry feel like she’s a burden. I guess you could say that Daniel is Laundry’s favorite family member. Daniel is also Scout’s favorite so I need a comeback. But I’m Coffee’s favorite. Coffee and I adore each other.
But I’m Coffee’s favorite. Coffee and I adore each other.
Our trip to London began as all trips begin: in a frantic rush to organize Laundry. Of course, she was coming with us. She’s part of the family and we’d never leave her behind. For the first time, we purchased packing pods to help keep Laundry comfortable and wrinkle-free during the flight. Together, we all managed to fold up, roll up, and pack up Laundry. After days of preparation, we were ready and all of us were excited for our vacation.
(This is the part where Scout must interject. He wants to brag that he didn’t pack a thing. I must concede that he really is a great traveler who visits the world with only the fur on his back. As for me, I appreciate using his extra carry-on allowance.)
Scout also wants you to know that our 16-hour flight on Norwegian Air was uneventful and included surprisingly edible airplane food. But maybe that was just the sleep deprivation and free wine talking.
Nevertheless, when we arrived at London Gatwick Airport and headed to Baggage Claim, I was nervous when I didn’t immediately see our luggage with Laundry inside. Scout nudged me and commented, “I guess you appreciate Laundry more than you thought.” I told him that my tinted sunscreen was irreplaceable and in that luggage. Scout just rolled his eyes since this was London and rain was in the forecast.
Laundry has Landed
When our luggage suddenly appeared around the conveyor belt corner, I sighed in relief. After all, Laundry and I may have our differences, but I didn’t want her to spend the night in the airport lost and alone. Finally, Scout, Laundry, Daniel, and I made our way to Daniel’s least favorite place in the world.
When Team Frymire and Scout travel, we visit as Visitors, but we never tour as Tourists. Visitors appreciate the culture. Tourists impale people with their selfie sticks. Nevertheless, the Tourist Office is the only place in the London Gatwick Airport where you can buy an Oyster Card and sim card in one go. This is why Daniel regrettably became a Touring Tourist for five minutes while Scout and I remained Vigilant Visitors and pretended not to know him.
Once we had all of the Oyster Cards and sim cards we needed, we headed to the London Underground. We all minded “the gap” and piled onboard. At this point in our story, I could bore you with each and every detail associated with our Airbnb, our search for food at Sainsbury Local, and our general exhaustion, but brevity is brilliance. In the spirit of brevity, I’ll fast-forward 24 hours to the iconic London destinations Team Frymire, Scout, and Laundry visited.
It turns out that Laundry was an excellent traveler and I was so happy to have her with us when the rain began to pour. Of course, we all took an abundance of pictures. Scout is short so, sadly, his head never made it into the selfies. But Daniel, Laundry and I took some wonderful photos across town:
After completing the London Bataan Death March, Laundry was damp, Scout was indignant, Daniel was determined as ever, and I was about to battle a Touring Tourist for their fish and chips. After much deliberation and much more walking, Scout and Daniel brought us all to Roti Chai to taste the national dish of England: chicken tikka masala. Like all white girls with messy buns and struggling Instagram pages, I absolutely live for chicken tikka masala.
OPERATION Laundry After Dark (LAD)
We’ve digressed. This story is about Laundry and our tumultuous, but meaningful relationship. As I said before, Laundry and I have a healthy respect for one another so I wanted to do right by Laundry on this vacation. The last time we traveled overseas with Laundry, we had an unfortunate run in with a Dryer in Morocco that refused to dry. I learned my lesson and now fully embrace drying racks. I swore that this vacation would be different. That this vacation would be filled with clean Laundry. That this vacation would be filled with dry Laundry. That this vacation would not end in a frantic-pre-airport-panic as I stuffed half-dry Laundry into the corners of our suitcases! I was resolved to start washing Laundry days before our departure– at whatever the cost.
It turns out that cost was sleep. In an effort to not burden Daniel and Scout with my vision for Laundry’s life, I resolved to complete my mission in secret. On Sunday, June 9th, we were 56 hours out from our departure. I waited until Daniel fell asleep and then crept into the hallway for OPERATION Laundry After Dark (LAD).
In an effort to not burden Daniel and Scout with my vision for Laundry’s life, I resolved to complete my mission in secret.
For hours, I forced myself to stay awake as I ensured that the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer rinsed and spun, rinsed and spun, rinsed and spun. Finally, at 0300 on Monday, June 10th, Laundry was neatly hung on the drying rack where she more or less got the next three days to herself.
The Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer
Laundry and I underestimated London. We underestimated London’s beauty and culture and food. London was more than we ever could have hoped. She was grander, greener, and damper than we ever imagined. This dampness, while once quaint and refreshing to us, would soon send us into a frantic-pre-airport-panic that rivaled all of the frantic-pre-airport-panics that came before.
London was more than we ever could have hoped. She was grander, greener, and damper than we ever imagined.
On Wednesday, June 12th, just 3 hours before our departure from London Stansted Airport, Laundry and I discovered that she was still damp. In a moment of desperation, I ignored every Care Instruction Tag and my better judgement as I stuffed Laundry into the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer in a desperate attempt to dry Laundry just minutes before we had to leave.
I stared at the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer as it rotated, rotated, rotated. Scout’s eyes widened, Daniel began to pace, and I knew I had to get Laundry out of there. As I pulled on the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer’s door, he didn’t budge so I pulled again. And again. And again. Laundry was in there. I could see her through the plastic window. She was all twisted up and alone and stuck. Daniel tried the door. He pushed buttons. He adjusted latches. It didn’t budge.
I stared at the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer as it rotated, rotated, rotated.
As Daniel assessed the situation, I began to imagine my life without that jacket and those socks and the Laundry that we loved. I imagined going home without Laundry and trying to replace her, but never finding socks quite the same. Angry, defeated, and generally sleep deprived, I made a choice. I screamed at the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/ Dryer. Then, I waited.
It was a small Click. If I hadn’t been in a heightened state of anxiety, I might have missed it. But it was the Click of freedom and Laundry was with us once more. With only seconds to spare, we stuffed Laundry half-dry into the corners of our suitcases in a frantic-pre-airport-panic.
Reflections on Laundry
We still have our differences. Laundry and I still disagree on lint and drying times and ironing. But Laundry and I generally get along better. She doesn’t pile up on the couch as often and, even when she does, I just don’t stress over it like I used to. I suppose you could say I’ve always loved Laundry, even if I didn’t always like her. Being with her is less of a chore now and more a way of life. I suppose we have London and the Abysmally Inefficient Dual Washer/Dryer to thank for that.