Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Laundry Casualty

Since I'm a reasonably fit person, I typically choose to walk the seven minutes it takes to get from my office to the apartment. So when the wife called this evening and asked if I needed a ride home, I told her without a thought that she could go ahead and release the driver.

After my last meeting, I texted Lindsay to let her know I was on my way home. Two minutes later I was set to walk out the door but was greeted by an unseasonable monsoon-ish downpour. This is my third February in the Delhi area. It's the first time I've seen it rain at this time of year. As you might imagine, I wasn't expecting to wait out a heavy downpour before beginning my walk home, but wait it out I was forced to do. I thought I might have left a rain coat in my office so went back upstairs to check. I hadn't. However, when I got back downstairs the rain had decreased in intensity from torrential downpour (which I'm sure flooded streets in Gurgaon) to mild rain shower. Not knowing when it would stop for good, I decided to start my seven minute walk.

The walk itself was incident free. After arriving at home, I was welcomed by Lindsay. She asked, not knowing that the rain had slowed, "How did you get home?" I explained and she responded meekly, "Well, we've had a casualty from the storm. A laundry casualty."

Like most people in India, we don't have a clothes dryer so we hang dry. When you first move here you think it's the biggest inconvenience but the reality is that you just get used to it and plan your laundry needs accordingly. In other words, there's a two day minimum cycle to get items washed, dried, and folded. That cycle can easily extend in the cold winter months. Seeing as how my interaction with the laundry is limited to putting it in a laundry basket when dirty and putting away when folded, it's tough to complain about the extended lead time.

Last night Lindsay had decided to hang the laundry (I'm still not sure why she was doing it but maybe since her Mom is here she wanted to show that we still can occasionally do domestic things; in the spirit of full disclosure, I actually cooked breakfast on Saturday). We hang the laundry on the guest room patio where her Mom is staying. Her Mom, still adjusting somewhat to the time, went to bed early, was awakened by the storm, and heard something on the patio. She and Lindsay checked what was going on and Lindsay noticed an item was missing. My favorite pair of jeans. Thus the laundry casualty.

We live on the first floor (the Indian/British first floor, which is the second floor in America; by the way, I've converted to the Indian way, it makes much more sense, just trust me) so it wasn't a long fall. Lindsay decided she'd go outside in the storm to try and find them. She was soaked immediately and had no luck.

So when I was greeted at the door with the news that my jeans had flown overboard, I grimly changed clothes, grabbed a flashlight (thanks to my friend O'Neill for the going-away gift), and started my search. The guards looked at me a little strange and I all I could do was hope my downstairs neighbors didn't see me snooping around their property in search of a soaked pair of jeans that I had purchased at a Turkish outlet store. After a few minutes without luck, thinking that the jeans had been blown off the deck and hadn't fallen directly down, I flashed the light on my neighbors patio directly below mine. There, sitting in a jumbled blue mess, were my beloved jeans. I quickly turned my light out, trespassed, and grabbed my pants.

I'm not sure there's really a lesson to what's probably the longest story you've ever read about missing laundry; however, if you're ever driving around see people's laundry hanging from their patios, rest assured that the answer to the thought rolling around your head ("I wonder if it ever blows off the drying rack?") is "yep, sure does".

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