Sunday, November 25, 2012
NOTE: An update to this story was posted here on December 30, 2012.
What follows is absolutely none of my business, nor probably yours, but we are going to discuss it anyway.
My hillbilly neighbors have had the same load of laundry hanging from the clothesline in their yard for 43 days, and it is driving me bonkers! I know it shouldn't. It’s not that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things, I know. After all, the economy is in the toilet, there is unrest in the Middle East, people are starving in Africa, and yet I am still vexed by this load of clothes that has been hanging up for longer than Noah was in the ark.
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog already know that I am kind of persnickety. (See post: The High Poohba of Persnickety, September 2012.) I am not a total neat freak or borderline obsessive-compulsive by any means, but I do like things to be a certain way. It is almost impossible for me to tolerate anything sticky on my hands, for example. (See post: Don’t Pour Some Sugar on Me, March 2012.) It is almost like an irresistible itch that must be scratched, and I can think of nothing else until I do. If I get some jam from my toast on a finger, I must walk to the sink and wash my hands at once before I can do anything else at all. Fortunately, my persnicketiness* rarely applies to other people. If you, for instance, want to share a meal with me after having dumped a jar of honey over your head, I could probably deal with it, though if you attract any bears, I am out of there.
And so it was with this load of laundry on my hillbilly neighbors’ clothesline. After it had been there for a week or so, it didn't really bother me. Stranger things exist in this world. However, after the one month mark passed, it began to irritate me, and now, after 43 days and counting, it is making me somewhat crazy.
Of course, I've wondered why these clothes are still there after all this time, but haven’t really come up with any good theories.
There are men’s, women’s and children’s clothes hanging there, so presumably it is a load of the whole family’s clothes. I can’t imagine that someone in the household is trying to teach someone else a lesson by leaving them up there until they get the hint. If they are, then they are failing miserably and going without their best pair of pajama jeans and “Larry the Cable Guy” muscle shirt.
It could be that the load of laundry hasn't actually been up there all that time. Someone takes it all down after dark, the family then wears the clothes overnight, they launder them before dawn, and then put them back up to dry again before I am up for the day at 6 a.m. While remotely possible, I think this theory of mine holds as much water as a pasta strainer.
I suppose it’s possible that my hillbilly neighbors are part of some obscure religious sect that does penance for its sins by leaving a perfectly good load of laundry on the line until such time as it is all as faded away to almost white. If that is the case, they don’t have much longer to go. A hooded sweatshirt on that clothesline that was once blaze-orange is already more of a blaze-peach color at this point.
Maybe, just maybe, they are aliens, and the clothes on the line are a signal for the mothership to come pick them up. If so, the mothership is quite late. Maybe it got called away to some intergalactic disturbance in another galaxy, and my alien neighbors are biding their time watching “My Big, Fat, Redneck Wedding” and WWE wrestling matches on their 60-inch widescreen television until their ride comes. How do I know about the 60-inch TV, you ask? Apparently, they don’t believe in curtains or blinds for some reason, and as you drive around the corner near their place, you can’t help but see whatever they are watching from the street. Heck you can probably see it from space.
But the most plausible theory I've come up with is also the simplest, they are so relentlessly lazy that they make the three-toed sloth look like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Remember, these are the same hillbilly neighbors who haven’t mowed the lawn between my house and theirs since they started renting it last July, causing it to become a haven for rodents and consequently, neighborhood cats. (See post: Hillbillies, Cats, and a Ruined Breakfast, October 2012.) In addition, their children have left their very new and not-inexpensive looking bicycles lying on the front lawn for the past few weeks, through several rainstorms and one snowstorm. I suspect the bikes will still be there after the spring melt, rusted solid. I wouldn't be surprised to see those clothes still on the line then too, which by then will be faded as white as the snow they will have withstood all winter.
There have been times when, far, far in the back of my mind, I've considered conducting a midnight raid on that clothesline. Dressed in black from head to toe, with black greasepaint smeared on my face and the Pink Panther theme playing in the earbuds of my iPod, I’d stealthily make my way into their yard and take down each item of clothing from the line. I’d fold each with care, place it in a neat stack, and then ever so quietly place the folded pile at their back door. Then I would slip quietly away into the night. It would be like they got a visit from some deranged laundry fairy.
So far, I've managed to resist the urge to actually carry this plan out, and likely will continue resisting to do so. It is not only creepy, but suspiciously like actual work.
To be fair, my hillbilly neighbors are not the worst neighbors by any stretch. They are relatively quiet, smile and wave politely when I drive past, and seem to be nice enough people. In the event of a disaster like an ice storm or blizzard, I am sure that we would gladly help each other out in time of need. So, if a permanent load of laundry on the clothesline is the biggest problem I have to deal with (other than that hayfield of a lawn, which is a moot point in winter), then I guess I can live with that. Plus, like I said at the outset, it’s not really my business.
Oh, did I mention that it’s the weekend after Thanksgiving, and they still have their Halloween decorations up?
*If "persnicketiness" is not a word, it should be.