Australian House by David Rabbitborough
Laundry is one of the last great wildernesses in the
home, renowned for its spectacular Whirlpools and
Kelvinators. Here we suddenly become aware of hearing a
primitive language: Silvo, Brasso, Rinso, Omo,
Sabco. We find objects
inscribed with the names of famous mythical beings: Mr
Sheen, Mrs Brite, Martha Gardner. Who they were and what
they did may never been known, but they almost certainly
connected with the sacred ritual of washing. For the Laundry is the home of
that most terrifying household god: the Dirty
Suburbanites believe that the Dirty Clothes basket must be offered up a daily sacrifice of garments. As soon as any garment is worn, even for two minutes it is deemed to be impure of the wearer and must be cast into the Dirty Clothes Basket to be cleansed by torture. Each garment is thrown into a tub, soaked with boiling water then twisted, wrenched back and forth and finally crushed with centrifugal force. It is then rolled endlessly in a kind of oven called a tumble drier for hours before finally being thrown a flat board to be seared by the Iron, a machine designed to spurt hot rusty water onto fabrics. The suburbanites believe that purifying their clothes washes away their own misdeeds, and indeed sometimes it does.
Sometimes, when they have nothing left in the cupboard , desperate individuals will dig down into the Dirty Clothes Basket to retrieve garments. Such individuals suffer terrible guilt as a consequence and go through the whole day certain that others know what they have done.
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