Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Johns and Laundry

The other day I went to pull out my long underwear as I prepared to face another cold day without the heat. In China most places don’t get the heat turned on in their buildings until November 15th and the days before then can be brutal. Just think about going home to an apartment without insulation made of concrete block and trying to keep warm. The worst part is coming out of the shower in the morning when you are naked, freezing, wet and standing on a wet cold bathroom floor trying hurriedly to dry off before going into a cold bedroom to get dressed. Yikes! Sometimes you wonder if you’re a person or a popsicle!

Anyway, I went to put on my qiu ku (long johns) and I realized that I didn’t have another pair available. Don’t get me wrong…I brought some with me from the States and I bought some from the store here (Men’s XXXL) but I hadn’t done my laundry in several days, so there was nothing clean for me to put on. By the way, do I look or feel like a Men’s XXXL? I didn’t think so!

Laundry is done different here than in the States. If you have money, you can purchase a decent washing machine for about the same price as in the US, but unless you want to spend an extravagant amount of money, you won’t have a dryer. That means you have to plan ahead. None of this, “I’ve got to have my favorite shirt for the party tonight so I’ll just quickly do a load of laundry and be done before it starts” stuff. Oh, no! You will have to wait a day or two before your laundry dries. You do it the old fashioned way- a clothes line or a drying rack.

Usually your apartment will have a balcony (yang tai) with a rope draped across it for hanging clothes, or you can buy a drying rack. I do have a balcony which I use for drying jeans or pants, but for the other more delicate items, I have chosen to use a drying rack which I put inside my living room….mainly because it’s the only place large enough for it to fit. I didn’t particularly want the neighbors looking out their ever-so-close windows and getting a load of my American sized skivvies! It’s hard enough being stared at for being as big and tall as I am, but having your drawers blowing in the wind for all the world to see would just be too much! Still, there seems to be something innately wrong with having all your undergarments hanging around in your living room with the rest of your decorations. It’s especially troublesome and embarrassing when you get unexpected company!

There is an old saying that goes like this: You’re lack of planning is not my emergency! In this case, my lack of planning was my emergency. At that moment I had two choices; either forego the long johns and freeze my touché off, or suck it up and put on a pair of “not so clean” ones. I’ll bet you can guess what I chose and I’ll bet you know what I was doing right after that…laundry!



bversluis said...

You are definitely not men's XXXL!! Hey so good to see an update from you. Means you're back online. Hope the move went well for you. Love, B