Since the start of quarantine, there have been some major issues we’ve all had to deal with, such as figuring out how to use software like Zoom, getting used to staying at home, and wearing masks when we go outside. But there’s one thing that has become a vital issue for me, affecting me more deeply and personally than anything else during the pandemic: putting away my clean laundry.
Yes, I wear clothes, and yes, they get dirty. Then they get washed. Who does this? I don’t know. My mom and dad? Elves? Fairies? Who cares? This isn’t the important question. The important question around here seems to be who will put these clothes away. My parents seem to think the answer is me. But I disagree. So now we’re at a standoff, and I’ve decided to put my foot down.
To me, it’s a complete outrage. There’s a global pandemic happening outside. Don’t my parents know I have more important things to do, like stress-eating and binge-watching? I’ve tried explaining this to them, but they don’t seem to agree, so this is where I’ll make my case.
First of all, the cat sleeps on the laundry. How am I expected to move my clothes when there’s a cat asleep on them? And please don’t say “Just move the cat,” Dad. She’s asleep. She’s adorable, cuddly, and just so, so precious. You know my mind can’t take that kind of trauma. You monster. Oh sure. Just get all exasperated. Oh, here comes the sigh. Wow. Sure, Dad. Real mature.
Second, online school is very challenging, and it takes up a lot of my time. There are so many assignments, and my day is packed with activities, so I need to be sensible and strategic about which ones to procrastinate on, and in what order. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but it takes a lot of time to figure out which assignments to put off until they’re overdue, and which to just never do at all. So that takes a lot of time as well, sometimes more than doing the actual work! As long as it’s time I’m not spending putting away the laundry, though, it’s time well spent. At the end of the day, I really don’t have any free time at all, and therefore no time to put away my laundry.
Third, research shows that we are all struggling with elevated levels of the stress hormone called cortisol during the pandemic. And a couple of key symptoms of a brain flooded with cortisol is an inability to concentrate and a tendency toward distraction. Sounds like me. So I can’t really be expected to organize a pile of mixed-up clothes into its different parts, and put them in their correct, respective places. It’s basically playing Stress Tetris.
Speaking of video games, when I’m in the middle of a seven-hour gaming session, there is no reason whatsoever to get me off the screen. I work hard and I’ve earned that time. Is the house burning down? Yes? Don’t care. Stop wasting my time. Am I starving? Yes, I am, but I can’t stop now; I’ve got a boss to fight. So please don’t bring up the laundry, Mom.
Have I mentioned that the pile of clean clothes has been there for MONTHS? It’s massive. I haven’t exercised since the start of quarantine, and all my muscles have atrophied. There’s no way I can possibly lift a pile that huge, much less put it all away.
Further, and this is connected to the size of the pile, I’m sure there are creatures living in there by now. Spiders, probably. And being the arachnophobe that I am, there’s no way I’m reaching into that pile if a spider is going to crawl onto my arm. What if those spiders have figured out how to use knives? What happens then? A knife-wielding spider isn’t how I want to die. I want to die happily, playing video games, maybe with a cat in my lap.
Finally, and more broadly, I think my laundry is trying to kill me. It’s the only thing that makes sense after all these months of neglect. It’s taller than me at this point, and it’s big enough to smother me. I’m sure if I go near it, it’ll spring its trap. So, best to just steer clear. Forever.
So that is a small list of the reasons why I refuse to put away my clean laundry. I could go on, but I sense that I’m winning this argument with my parents. They still ask me about it, but less often now, and without the passion and frustration they once had. They’ve almost surrendered, and I have to keep resisting until they do. I’m almost there. And from this strange time of suspension and waiting I think I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned to stand up for myself and to take some action in defending my beliefs. It has come at the cost of a hulking, landfill-sized pile of clothes in the middle of the living room that everyone avoids and that may or may not be alive, but I think it’s worth it.