Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Secret Longing

I am harboring a secret longing, a desire for something from my past that is all-consuming. But hold on, it's not what you might think. Allow me to explain.

Since I moved to the UK, people on both sides of the pond often ask me what I miss most about America. Of course, there's the obvious answer: family and friends. Other than that, I've never really been able to pinpoint one specific thing that I yearn for or can't live without here in the UK. Is it the space? The weather? Target? While I certainly do miss all of these things (especially Target), the truth is I've learned to adapt without them.

Two children later, I now have the answer to that lingering question. What do I miss most about America? It would have to be the tumble dryer.

Now, you may be thinking, "It's just a humble appliance," but having lived without one for almost six years, I can tell you that it is so much more than that. In short, it is a "sanity-saver." My husband doesn't get my obsession with the tumble dryer, but he (like many Brits) has lived his whole life without one, so he has no idea what he's missing.

Within the first year that I moved here, we purchased a washer/dryer combo (we simply don't have space for a separate tumble dryer, which I suppose links back to one of the other things I miss). I was tired of planning my washing around the unpredictable weather. Too many times had I hung washing on the line, only for the sun to make a hasty retreat and the heavens to open on my nearly-dry clothes, thus necessitating at least another rinse, if not a complete re-wash of the load. Or, in other instances, I'd wait days for the rain and wind to stop until I had run out of underwear and had to resort to hanging things on the radiator to dry. But there's only so much you can fit on the radiators. And in the middle of winter, when it is simply out of the question to hang anything outside for fear the bedsheets might turn into sheets of ice, getting the timings right on each load of laundry so I didn't run out of space on the indoor drying rack took a bit of choreography. (And I still ended up using the radiators.) Of course, I did have the option to traipse down to the local laundrette to dry things if I needed to, but I'll plead laziness here as to why that never became much of a habit.

The washer/dryer does help a little bit, but a drying cycle takes about two hours, so it's not the most practical (or energy-efficient) option. Plus, I can't save time by washing one load while drying another. So these days, with all of the dirty laundry created by a three-year-old, a three-week-old, and a breastfeeding mother, it feels like I am doing washing all day every day.

Oh, tumble dryer, I am sorry for all of the years I took you for granted. I never appreciated what I had until it was gone.