I knew this guy who used to shake his pants when he took them out of the washer, before putting them in the dryer. It seemed unnecessary since they were just going to get all tossed around again in the dryer.  His mom told him that shaking the wet pants would keep them from getting wrinkled. I’d see him vigorously shaking a damp pair of jeans and all I could think is what an idiot.

Meanwhile I was balling up my rags and over-stuffing a dryer.  So it could definitely be argued that my system was no good either. I never had a mother to show me anything. But basically I’m a decent human being. I keep clean and all.

Another thing about this guy I knew is that he would always wash his white things first because his mom told him the bleach sanitized the machine. All I could think about that was that is so weak.

I suspected if I kept seeing that guy he would eventually want me to do things the neurotic way his mom told him to do them, so I stopped seeing him. AND I decided no matter what kind of relationship you have with a person you should do your own laundry, because you have your way and they have theirs.

Then one day I had a son of my own and because he was a helpless baby I started doing his laundry. One day he’ll do his own and he’ll probably have a style like mine. He might not always use dryer sheets. He definitely won’t shake his wet pants. He might wait too long before folding the dry stuff and have wrinkles, but basically he’ll be a good person. I think that’s all any mom really wants.


Marie recieved her Master’s degree from Hollins University where she published her first collection of fiction. She currently teaches writing at the University of Delaware.