Have you ever watched your washing machine wash your clothes? We've had a front-loading washer since I was fifteen and here I am at twenty, watching it happen for the first time.
I didn't mean to watch it. I spilled detergent on the floor while pouring it into its little slot, so I was bending down to clean it up when the water started pouring into the machine and caught my eye. It only came from the left side, and started to soak the Batman boxers I use as pajama bottoms. The boxers darkened and sagged, falling in on itself, shrinking. I watched a sock do the same thing. The washer spun slowly, dumping the clothes to the right in a labored motion. My sheets got a turn to darken and shrink.
Pretty soon some frail white soap froth came into the picture, and the clothes were so damp and squeezed together that the once-ambitious load filled only a third of the machine.
I watched several of my brown hairs stick sloppily to the clear door. More joined, in a tangled, rotating display. The clothes smashed the hairs against the window and twirled them around. It was gross, really, but interesting to know how the knots of hair that I would later pick out formed.
I don't know why I didn't get up off the cold, hard tile laundry room floor and do something else. Eat lunch, read a book, work on the new editing project I'd just received. I guess I knew that those things would happen anyway, but that I would likely never again take the time to watch my clothes get clean.
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