Before the holiday break I used to have a washing routine. I’d do one load on Monday night when I got home from work, hang it out in the morning and juniordwarf (who loves to help with the washing) and I would put the next load on so it’d be ready to hang out when we got home after our Tuesday activities. On a good day the first load would be dry by then. Then Wednesday is towel day.
In winter we rarely get good days. It’s often foggy, overcast, raining or all three. The undercover washing area only takes so much, at which point the airer in front of the heater comes into play and (with all the guilt over greenhouse emissions and high power bills), the clothes dryer.
But when the sun comes out, and especially when it’s windy, drying the washing is, well, a breeze.
Every time I’m hanging out washing on one of those days, I flash back to a scene in an Aussie comedy show from the 1980s or 90s, which might have been the Big Gig or it might have been Fast Forward, with two housewife characters who used to talk to each other over the fence, who might have been Denise Scott and Jean Kitson (or might not have been), and they used to talk about what a beautiful drying day it was. And they’d go on and on about it.
So I’d always have in mind this ‘beautiful drying day’ on all those sunny, windy days.
Today was not a beautiful drying day.
It’s been raining. A lot.
I haven’t got back into my normal routine, so the washing production line doesn’t work effectively. I keep forgetting to do the washing on Monday nights, so I have nothing to hang out on Tuesday morning. So the whole routine falls into a heap.
While I was trying to cram the second load of washing into the undercover drying space and cursing this rain for preventing me from getting it all done, it suddenly occurred to me that I had nothing to complain about.
At the same time as I was fussing over getting my washing done, Queensland was being flooded. People were losing their homes, everything they had. Some people had died and many were missing.
I saw the floods on TV and I read the reports, yet still I couldn’t really fathom what was happening. To hear about rivers peaking at 22 metres, houses being completely underwater – I couldn’t . . can’t . . . even imagine the reality of this.
I read accounts from my online friends about what they were going through and feared for their safety. Reading about one friend away interstate with her three children expecting to return home to have lost everything brought tears to my eyes as I thought what it would be like to come home to a destroyed house, having had no chance to save anything. (It now turns out her house wasn’t flooded, which is such a relief.)
Hearing about a little boy the same age as juniordwarf who had died was even harder. Much much harder. While it would be dreadful to lose everything, things can be replaced. People can’t.
The devastation is on such a massive scale and there is so much loss that it makes everyday problems seem trivial.
As soon as my thoughts turned to Queensland, getting my washing dry was the most insignificant thing in the world.
PS - if anyone can identify the series/actors/characters, or even the actual phrase they used, because I'm not sure it even was 'a beautiful drying day', please feel free to correct me.