It looked so innocent, so sweet. It was a large blue Ikea bag, filled to the brim. Several neatly folded shirts floated at the top, artfully topped by a few pairs of folded socks. I looked into the depths of my closet, and ripped open the box of plastic cartons I had bought. My mission was to bring order to my closet and to put away the laundry, and I would brook no defeat.
My closet is a little awkward in shape. It had a handy sloped floor that serves as a built-in-shoe rack, but all the actual clothes are on a single shelf above my head. I have piles for each type of clothing. But M, as he would put away laundry, constantly placing jeans in the pajama pile, sweaters with sweatshirts, camisoles with the undies, and worst of all, mixing up the gym T-shirts with the wearing-out tees. [True story: as I was relating this story to a male colleague, he knit his brow in confusion. "OK," he said, "I'm going to have to side with M on that one. T-shirts are all the same." Quitting time came before I could explain that a gym t-shirt was a much different creature than a wearing-out-to-dinner-at-the-burger-joint or a sitting-on-the-couch-watching-TV t-shirt...]
To no avail, I had labeled all my piles with my handy label maker. Finally, today, I bought a set of clear plastic boxes. I would conquer the unruly piles at last. I quickly re-folded the wayward sweaters and re-piled the leaning pile of jeans and sorted out the jammies. I turned to the Ikea bag of laundry to put that away.
I discovered... it was a freakin' decoy layer! Underneath the top layer, the laundry was all jumbled up and wrinkled. The socks were unmatched. The button-down shirts were entangled and balled up instead of being gently layered over the top. The t-shirts were stuffed in haphazardly. I glared at the offending pile, quickly realizing that M's version of "oh, yeah, this is done" is far from my "oh, yeah, this is ready to be put away and worn" done.
In fact, the day I dropped him off at the laundromat and did the grocery shopping while he worked, I returned while everything was still in the dryer. I sat down to check my email and read the news while he went to get the laundry. Obviously, I misjudged time because it was mere moments before he was back with that fateful Ikea bag and a big grin, declaring that we were ready to go.
I should have noticed the manic glint in his eye. I should have seen the dreamy face as he babbled on about his latest paper. I should have realized that his mind was nowhere near a laundromat, and instead, it was several miles away holed up in a library constructing a short paper about welfare communism and FDR and that other guy... I should have guessed that he'd start to fold a bit of laundry and then hear the words "groceries" and "done".
I had thought he'd fold the laundry and put it away and come downstairs to watch some TV and have a drink with me. He thought I'd make a nice late dinner and he'd curl up on the couch with the cats and a bunch of books.
An hour later, I had two quiches out of the oven, several bags of prepped veggies, and two drinks in hand (one for each of us). He had a cat, a book, and a remote.
And today, I have discovered that I married an intellectual. For I have a living room with two large, lazy cats, and several impressively precarious piles of books, but my laundry is in a hopeless pile covered by a few measly decoy shirts.
But I gotta say, it does make for scintillating road trip conversation and sparkling dinner tete-a-tetes, even if I must resign myself to never getting folded laundry ever again.