When I was in 4H, a million years ago, we had Demonstration Day once a year, when you would have to demonstrate something, talk about it (a hobby, a task, etc) knowledgeably, and show how it was done. I remember watching a girl demonstrate how to iron. “Pressing, pressing, pressing,” she said. “It’s so depressing…”
Fast forward to today. Budget is blown on food and bills and Mr Husband has no clean dress shirts (the kind to wear with a tie) for work this week. He likes to take them to the cleaners, even though I say I will do them. He says it’s too much work and he’d rather pay someone else. I say, bad for the environment — plastic bags, hangers, chemicals, driving around, the expense — even though we go to a “green” cleaner who takes our hangers back and recycles. Still…
So he finally agreed, for lack of anything else to wear, threw two loads of shirts in the wash, and I spent the afternoon ironing. Something was in one of the pockets, of course, and two of his shirts and one of mine were ruined by something that looked like ink. I ran them through again but it was no use. Rags! I was cringing because it seemed like “proof” that washing them at home is not as good as the dry cleaners. But he took it in stride.
And as for me, I strapped on my iPod and boogied through three baskets of shirts, slacks, dresses and cloth napkins. Then I sat at the sewing machine and did a bunch of mending, then finished ironing.
The moral of this story is — once again — I feel really good about doing something for the planet when I choose to do it the old-fashioned way — and yet I get *again* what a commitment it is to have a commitment to something. It took me at least two hours to do all of that ironing, and although I enjoyed the work, it was still two hours of standing up and being on my feet. (Does it count as exercise?) And we both said that we could stop the expense of the dry cleaner, and he wants to learn how to iron, and we can share the duty, and it feels really good to have done this — and I’m pooped! So if we’re going to iron his shirts, every other week (because he has a sizable number, because of the dry cleaning schedule), then I will need to plan a couple of hours to make sure I can get it done.
I imagine doing this while conversing, visiting, listening to the radio or CDs would also be fun (I don’t watch much TV).
Pressing doesn’t have to be *depressing,* does it? It can actually be good for the planet. 😉
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.