Thursday, February 25, 2016

Whether Laundry Weather: A Writing Exercise

Your pen sits on the table to your right. To your left, the great unwashed: literally, the laundry that reeks of some ghoulish decay, smelling like the story of thirty-one days. The scent is uninviting, unenticing as it lingers in your room, and in the basket it has found its temporary asylum. "Extradite your self," you mutter, "or suffer the penalty of turning incognito by way of destierro beneath my bed." After an hour of debating with yourself you eventually decide to do your laundry with your pen, or to pen your laundry, whichever comes first, or draws the blood, and somehow you understand that it is far from being the most glamorous chore. Yours is the prerogative to write your laundry and to laundry your writings, so soap all bitter memories with a thousand words, until you could bleach the sun and rinse the rain.

Which isn't really possible, of course. But what gives.

Next step: soak everything in your recipe of onion, garlic, beef stock, a dash of grin, another dash of incredulity, then some tears here and there from a time when your spritely self walked away from you for a month or so, garnish it with silantro and a bit of regret, and call this unbecoming mixture the broth from the underworld. Cook your clothes but don't eat them. This is not your last supper. And you have no disciples to break bread with. Even Judas Iscariot is ashamed of you. But miracles are your specialty, and for a while you think by way of obfuscation that you are a welcome messiah. You are not. All saintly gates are sealed, and so are your eyelids. Pray that your daydream is not part of the pope's itinerary. He can visit you there just to excommunicate you. But, alas, he might not. After all, everyone in the Vatican is busy waiting for heaven. As for you, well, you're just busy with your laundry. Supposedly.

Now, if there is a wrinkle on a page, or a spot of stain that is begging for a hard scrub, go ahead: give it the time of its life. Brush it like a bad case of fleas. Undo its misery by turning it into virgin pulp again, then say fuckyeah come'n git some ya biatch. Repeat as often as necessary, which is once every five seconds, or until you are fully convinced beyond an iota of doubt that the trouble you are going through is divine in its earthliness, and earthly in its divinity. Nature has its own devices of reminding you that the world is not a gallant purveyor of innocence. Everything is corrupted. Like your laundry. And words. Lo, you hear the rustle of the leaves from a distance. Mute the whistle of the wind because what's the point. You can take good care of yourself just fine and boy do you like to wash your clothes. You feel like it's your calling, and you dub thyself Pastor Genteel Cotton and Wool of the Holy Church of Good Laundry and All Things About Clothes dot com.

Hang everything. Leave them to dry under the overcast sky where for once you could use a little help from the sun because the night has always been your day and your eyes have never been fond of bright things. "Them shiny thangs like the rims of they car," you could hear your politically incorrect mind say as it reels from your unrelenting defiance. "You are not African-American," says the mind, reminding you in the process of your ethnicity, which is a cross between the outlandish Bicolano that you are and the miser Ilocano that you have become. Separate the whites from the coloreds, the racist statesman would pontify, like casting pearls before swine, or swine before pearls, but you're just dealing with clothes and not ethnic cleansing, or the gentrification of the world, which is equally awful. Shiver at the thought.

Watch your laundry occupy the length of the clothes line. One by one they fall in place, like a series of headless and limbless and torsoless suicides of invisible bodies flapping with the gale. It is not their fault that they were bound to hang themselves, some of the times together, some other times separately. Neither is it yours. There is no grave error in observing your duty. Circumstances beyond your control have forced you to do your laundry and hang them, poor clothes whose only sin was to have been woven into existence by the hands of workers who never get paid enough while the rest of the world gallivants in lavish splendor, preferably while wearing designer clothes --- look how unconscionable, imagine how denigrating, how despicable, how appaling, and while you're at it, how's your laundry?

None of these make any sense. In a few hours, the sun will set and the moon will take its stead. And now that you are finally done writing, you may now actually begin washing your laundry.