Sea Shanty

If I’ve been good after I do a load of laundry I fold everything into neat quadrilaterals and leave my hamper ready to accept each day’s top off of worn clothes.  If I’ve been bad I leave the clean load in the hamper and form a pile of worn items next to it.

I’ve been bad lately so I know it’s time for another load now that the floor is full and my hamper is finally empty.  One of the shirts on the floor seems to be there by mistake, however, as I haven’t worn it during the formation of this most recent pile.  The one with the charming sailboat motif all done in thread.  I pick it up, haphazardly fold it, and stick it back in the drawer.  Now the remaining clothes get shoved into the ready hamper with the long-gone lace handles.  I manhandle it all downstairs to the machines.

There’s this plaque on the wall of the laundry room stating that Jenkins Hall was the most resource-efficient dorm hall of years 2009 and 2011, which is odd because it’s odd to make a fancy-pants plaque for such a specific thing for two nonconsecutive years only to hang it in a laundry room.  It’s also odd because this is isn’t Jenkins’ laundry room.

After accepting this plaque as the final evidence required to convince myself that the meaning of life is unknowable I move the clothes to the dryers, leave, return, stare at the plaque some more, and finally lug everything back up to my room.

Rolling around in the warm, dry clothes is nice.  The night is cold and my window is open, so I need to enjoy this ephemeral pleasure before it slips away.  The text message from whomever will just have to wait five minutes.

I find it was well worth the wait.  The act has replenished my vigor and I decide to be good.  Once I’m opening the drawer to place my first stack of folded shirts I see the one with the sailboats on it again.  All by itself before it becomes just one in my sea of brightly colored tees.  I particularly like this shirt.  I’m looking back at the coast as the boat heads toward the choppy blue-on-blue of the horizon.  We’re far enough away now and the sails are really starting to fill.  The heavy mist nips my cheeks in waves as the canvas ripples.

Forty foot swells are really pounding us.  As the boat rocks back and forth we feel the wooden seat lift off the nails meant to keep it in place before settling back down.  I can’t decide if it’s getting looser or if the swells are just increasingly large and lifting us a bit higher from the seats.  Could be both.  That’s fine though, since I could probably hold onto that six-inch high railing as I tumble overboard.

Sea shanties are a great way to loosen up and enjoy the rhythm of the sliding seat, I learn.

***

Haul away your rolling king, heave away, haul away

Haul away you’ll hear me sing, we’re bound for South Australia

As I walked out one morning fair, heave away, haul away

’Twas there I met Miss Nancy Blair, we’re bound for South Australia

There’s just one thing that’s on my mind, heave away, haul away

That’s leaving Nancy Blair behind, we’re bound for South Australia

And as we wallop ‘round Cape Horn, heave away, haul away

You’ll wish to God you’ve never been born, we’re bound for South Australia

***

It sounded much more lively and reassuring at the time.  You had to be there.