Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Clothesline = Poor. Seriously???

Back East, when the Good Green Witch was small enough to duck under the clothesline, Spring and Summer meant we could hang clothes out to dry. We had the room in the back yard, and hanging the bedsheets out there just made sense. Why use the dryer when it was already too warm in the house? It was our yard, no one could really see behind our house, and pretty much everyone did it. Did we equate it with being green? Nope. It just made sense. Did we equate it with being "poor"?? Nah. It was the sensible way to do things. That's all.

Nowadays, people dwell in condos and apartment buildings and pay dues to the neighborhood associations. Such a thing as hanging clothes outside is simply not acceptable. It is unsightly! It would bring down property values! It's downright unseemly! Proper folks just don't do that! Do we want people to think we are poor??? Don't only the "poor" hang out their clothes to dry??

Whoa. Wait a minute. There's something behind this mentality. It is true: it has become a sign of "lower income" to think that one must use a clothesline. Where does this come from?

We have fallen pray to advertising for many years. Think about it: companies don't care how clean your home is or how sanitary your toilet is or even if you have e. coli running around your kitchen counters. They want to SELL you their products. They sell ideas, they sell fear, they sell status. That is how they sell products. Way back whenever, people who were hired to sell dryers had to compete with all the Great Outdoors... However can a drying machine compete with FREE? Challenge the status, of course! If you were well-to-do, you bought a newfangled washer and dryer, which meant you didn't have to work as hard at your laundry and had the leisure time and luxury afforded to such wealth. Only those poor families down the street had to work so hard, because they couldn't AFFORD a dryer. See? Clothesline = poverty.

But today, we can see around and beyond that mentality. We can think for ourselves, and not be ruled by advertising. We realize that hanging clothes outside is better for our electricity bill, gas bill, etc. It's not a sign of poverty, but rather a sign of sustainability, of Green-ness, of concern. Dare we say, frugality? These communities that forbid clotheslines... we need to change that way of thinking and realize why we are bound to these incorrect beliefs. We need to remember that our grandparents really knew what they were doing. We need to realize that convenience is not our best friend.

We need to open our eyes and ears, and start questioning what we see on TV. We can start to ask. "Hmm. Do I REALLY need that?" Sometimes it's OK that the answer is no. We don't need that! And no, just because we like the fresh smell of Sun and wind-dried clothes and to save a little energy, doesn't mean we are poor. It means we're trying, and we are Green.