Dryer, Broken and in the Basement


9:06 p.m. We’re on our way back from the grocery store. As we drive down the road in the rain, I notice a mother in a window illuminated by florescent light. She loads her dryer. Her hair is tousled. She our neighbor down the way. Don’t really know them too well.

A partly dried lump of laundry waits in my dryer. When I arrive at home, I will run downstairs and turn the dryer back on. I will haul the groceries in on multiple trips through the never-ending mist and rain.

I’ll ask my son if he wants to read his new library books together. “No,” he’ll say in that way he does when he is already deeply occupied but can still hear me. He will already be on the couch reading his new books.

I’ll leave the groceries on the floor then, and go and write because it’s been a week and groceries can wait. The heat wave broke, and groceries won’t rot on the floor.

I’ll give the buzz of the dryer a second thought because a delay in the dryer reset will mean a late bedtime. The dryer timer stopped working last year. I dry our clothes on the line, but there has been no sun for weeks.

So I will run downstairs every 15 minutes to turn the timer back to the 18 minute mark. I have discovered the 18 minute mark is the only place from which the dryer will run. Since it includes a cool down phase, I get about 10 minutes of heat for every cycle. I will ,repeat my trip to the basement at least four times, maybe more for towels, but there are no towels in the wash tonight, just sodden work clothes.

I will feel the waistband of my son’s sweatpants and the cuffs of my husband’s button down work shirt for dampness. I’ll pull out synthetic pants, boxers, and thin socks. All dry. And turn back the timer for the rest.

That’s what I’ll do. That’s what I did.

Now Jared’s home from band practice, and I would like to say ‘hello’. And put away the groceries, and shower so I don’t smell like the Shop-RIte, and see if my kid wants to read now, and sit down. I will hear the sound of the d/mn dryer buzzing. I know I will.