Our guest post today comes from Marlayna Glynn Brown the author of Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas.
Hanging Your Underwear Outside To Dry
As I’m putting the finishing touches on the second memoir in my trilogy – Memoirs of Marlayna Glynn Brown – I’m staying in a foreign country. While this may sound glorious and luxurious, the simple truth is that it takes an astronomical amount of willpower to seclude yourself in paradise and work. Especially when the rest of the village is frolicking daily in the blue sea lapping at our doorsteps.
But I digress, for the primary challenge that exists in this lovely Garden of Eden is how to handle dirty laundry in a country that does not commonly utilize clothes dryers.
As the lone American and native English speaking writer in what feels like all of Eastern Europe, I’ve adjusted to life without makeup, blow dryer, curling iron and hair straightener. I’ve adjusted to the cultural shifts in that Americans commonly smile, display their expensively repaired white teeth and say, “HELLO!” to everyone we pass. This is not common in the village where I am staying. Aside from looking like a crazed shipwreck survivor, my constant smiling at the villagers is likely feeding the rumor that I am insane. They don’t bother with me though, because if I am simple enough to just smile at everyone I pass they likely consider me quite harmless. I’ve adjusted to my perceived reputation.
However, dealing with the accumulation of dirty laundry is quite another issue. I come from a land of convenience. I bleach my whites, Shout out stains, and wash and rewash as necessary. Since clothing in America generally goes from the washer to the dryer, if an item of clothing has not shaken out as it should I am the only one who will bear witness from the privacy of my laundry room. Not so in this village where dryers are not used.
You wash. You hang outside to dry in full view of anyone who passes by your place. In a small village with one main drag, you can be sure that everyone will pass by your place. Ergo, everyone will see your laundry. At first, I hung the regular things outside to dry – towels and shorts and tees and socks. The intimates I hung privately in my bathroom. However, the bathroom was always damp and it could take days for these private items of clothing to dry.
Meanwhile, the villagers displayed all of their items of clothing outside for the glorious, hot, summertime sun to do its work. I passed by these displays of intimate wear, feeling secretly chagrined and wishing I had the courage to display the evidence of my inner sanctum as well.
A few weeks into my stay it occurred to me that I was penning my second tell-all memoir, yet afraid to hang my underwear outside to dry? Grammatically I was not just hanging my ‘dirty laundry’ on my street, I was displaying it for the entire world to see. And if I could find the courage to commit some very personal and difficult stories to paper, surely I could hang clean underwear out to dry in one little village in one little part of the big world we all share.
I’m proud to report that my Secrets of Victoria are blowing in the breeze outside my village apartment these days as I get ready to publish my second memoir for the rest of the world to read. I sleep well at night knowing even if we don’t smile at each other as we pass, everyone has laundry to do and stories to tell.
Marlayna Glynn Brown firstname.lastname@example.org