Regress to the Future: Laundry Edition

Welcome back to Al Gore’s America, where modern conveniences give way to anachronistic annoyances, all in the name of shrinking one’s carbon footprint. Today’s backward looking enviro-trend is…clotheslines. That’s right, it’s time to toss out your dryer and its sinful promise of warm, soft garments and embrace the stiff, cardboard-like bath towels of yesteryear. According to the New York Times‘ Kathy Hughes, it’s fun for the whole family:

As a child, I helped my mother hang laundry in our backyard in Tamaqua, Pa., a small coal mining town. My job was handing up the clothespins. When everything was dry, I helped her fold the sheets in a series of moves that resembled ballroom dancing.

The clothes and linens always smelled so fresh. Everything about the laundry was fun. My brother and I played hide-and-seek in the rows of billowing white sheets.

I remember this as I’m studying energy-saving tips from Al Gore, who says that when you have time, you should use a clothesline to dry your clothes instead of the dryer.

One would think that a modern, environmentally-minded person would have certain emotional conflicts with growing up in a coal mining town. After all, I thought coal mines were terrible polluters of the air and water, and yet her mother’s laundry always smelled wonderfully fresh. Those must have been some miraculous clotheslines indeed.