The Joy of Laundry

Robots, Step Away from My Machine!

The Joy of Laundry

Some women find bliss doing downward dog. Some get their Zen from deep breathing. Me? I get my life affirmations doing laundry. Yes, doing laundry, a task most consider drudgery and toil. I know it’s odd, but before I explain why, I must register my alarm. There’s a technological “advance” on the horizon that threatens my laundry delight.

First, about my love of laundry: It began, as most things do, with my parents. My mother was a super-duper housewife. She also worked, but the family was her main occupation and preoccupation.

Through the years, I watched her wash, fold, and iron our clothes. As a little girl, I giggled at the sight of my father’s boxer shorts. As a teenage women’s libber, I rankled at the time my mother “wasted” folding his tee shirts … first, ever so carefully lengthwise in thirds, so the short sleeves would not have creases; then, in half to fit perfectly in the dresser drawer. Time wasted and besides, why did she, not he, attend to his laundry needs?

But then after 52 years of marriage, my mother’s days of folding my father’s laundry came to an end. A few days after he died, my mother-still in a daze-was in the garage doing the laundry. In the mix of just dried garments were my father’s undershirts, shorts, and socks. I watched as she folded his tee shirts in the same neat manner she had done for so many decades. First, in thirds, then, in half. The sight of her folding his clothes for the last time took my breath away.

Laundry, the Spice of Life

And ever since then, I delight in seeing new piles of dirty clothes, towels, and tablecloths. If we’re generating laundry, all is well. Grass-stained pants mean the kids had fun playing outside. Grease on a tie means the soup was good. A gravy-stained tablecloth means a big family gathering. The sound of the washer and dryer whirring away is merry music to my ears. The more loads, the better. Doing our laundry is truly life-affirming.

My husband tells friends that after 31 years of marriage I still get excited when he drops his drawers. He never explains it’s because I’m primed to start another load of laundry right then and there. But he gets it. In my own, unsexy way, I’m wishing us a long life together, filled with lots of love and laundry.

Techno-Travesty Looms

Yet, now, technology looms, threatening to destroy my joy. Just as hand-written letters and telephone conversations have become passé, so too may folding laundry. And it’s all thanks to a new heartless laundry-folding fiend, I mean, machine. The robot, FoldiMate by name, is fast, promising to fold pants, shirts, and towels – “a full machine load in under 4 minutes.” It also has “adjustable folding technology that fits the folding to your shelf size.”

And Foldi is not alone in the fold-your-laundry game. Just last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, the crowd was agog over a $16,000 artificial intelligence-powered laundry-folding machine.

For his part, FoldiMate CEO/inventor Gal Rozov had this to say: “I’m a family guy and I wanted to help my wife. But the quality of my folding wasn’t up to her standards.”

This, I find curious. The man can invent a fancy machine, but he cannot fold a towel?

Happily, FoldiMate has its limitations. It’s pricey, $980, and cannot handle bulky or large things (like linens and hoodies) or small items (underwear, socks and baby clothes). And it’s still under development with first deliveries not expected until late 2019.

The Joy of Laundry Remains Safe

So, thankfully, my cheerful chore remains safely in human hands … for now.

Yet, I do worry about the future, because I must confess: I too have laundry limitations. I don’t iron; I’m not high tech, and I cost much more than $980 to maintain.

But still, this I know, no robot will ever be able to say, “How ’bout it, Handsome Hubby? Ready to drop those drawers?”

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