How Hot Is It?

Not as hot here on Martha’s Vineyard as in some other places, but it’s hot, and muggy, and it hasn’t rained in many weeks.

I don’t track the temperature or the humidity, but here’s my data point.

The Airport Laundromat. Photo is from 2011,but it hasn’t changed much, except the trim is now red.

I generally do laundry when I’m about to run out of underwear: about every three weeks. Yes, I have too much underwear and too many pairs of socks, but keep in mind that I don’t have a washing machine and for about 14 years I used the Airport Laundromat. I and the resident malamute — first Travvy and now Tam — would stroll around the airport while the clothes washed, then I’d toss them into two big canvas bags, take them home, and hang them out.

Not including the hanging out, this took an hour or so, an hour during which I couldn’t do much of anything else. If I had my own washer, I could do a load every week or 10 days and go about my day while the machine was doing its thing. I could, in other words, get by with less underwear and fewer pairs of socks.

For the last year or so my neighbor/landlady has let me use her washer, which is great, but I don’t want to be over there every week either so I still mostly do laundry when I’m about to run out of undies.

Today, however, I had more than a week’s supply of clean underwear in the drawer. What I was almost out of were clean shorts and clean sleeveless Ts and other tops. In cool weather I can wear the same T-shirt, or turtleneck, for several days in a row. In hot, muggy summer the mere thought of pulling on the morning T after taking a post-walk shower — yecchh. Socks are not much better.

Not surprisingly, there were no long pants of any kind on the laundry line today. There was only one T-shirt with sleeves.

I should note that my apartment is not air-conditioned (muwahahaha), and since I work at home, I don’t have to dress to impress or even to stay on the good side of the dress code. (My entire life I’ve managed to avoid workplaces with dress codes.)

Summer laundry is a lot more colorful than cool-weather laundry, and the wind kept it moving. Socks and underwear dry on a rack up on my deck, and the undies kept flying off. I’m not complaining, however, because everything dried almost as fast as it would have in a dryer.

This weather inevitably makes me think of the years I lived in D.C. and commuted by bicycle. For two years it was a 10-mile ride each way, from home in Mount Pleasant, D.C., to Alexandria, Virginia. It was bike path almost all the way, though navigating the traffic around Memorial Bridge took nerves of steel and/or an obliviousness to one’s own mortality. On the way home I’d stop to soak my bandana and my face in a bubbler at the Lincoln Memorial. The last mile was straight uphill, from the backside of the National Zoo to the relatively level streets of my neighborhood. Sometimes I walked my bike part of the way.

My commutes got steadily shorter after that, till in 1999 they disappeared entirely. That didn’t keep me off the road, however: for the 10 years or so I had a horse, the horse and I never lived in the same place, so I was always driving somewhere to do barn chores. By then I had a canine companion, so biking was pretty much out of the question.

The view from above
The other end of the line

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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