Chinese Laundry

SDC12407Ask for a dryer in Suzhou, China and the helpful clerk will spout a barrage of clattery Mandarin, consult with her co-workers about what the strange Americans might be wanting, then lead you to a small tent arrangement with hot air blowing through it, not unlike the inflatable snowmen soon to pop up on lawns across the U.S. Such a contraption would be a miracle if I wanted to dry one entire shirt, or had just discovered electricity, but l have three hooligans who persist In calling me Mom, and a husband who wears his dumplings on his pants. Suzhou is all about hanging your clothes out to dry. It is also called the Venice of the East because of its many canals. Today I was in a boat floating down one of these canals while a sixty-one year old woman sang a traditional Chinese song, but I was distracted because someone on the second floor of one of the houses had hung her laundry on a rack outside her window and all I could think was “What does she do when her shirts blow off the hangers and land in the fungus water?” Yesterday I did receive a beautiful stainless steel dryer ordered from a galaxy far far away, but it turns out that the outlets in my laundry room were never designed for such bounty. Dryers also make lovely end tables. Maybe I should ask about the fungus water.