Do you remember those aerial TV antennas that everyone used to have on their roofs, back before everything became satellite and cable and streaming and on-fucking-demand?
When I was a kid in the seventies and we were all being raised by the giant box in the corner of the living room, those aerials were everywhere, sprouting like strange metallic trees on the tops of buildings.
Now the only ones I see are in a tiny grove on the roof of the old folks’ home—you know, the one over there by the gas station they’re tearing down because the ground is contaminated.
Anyway, they make me think of childhood and that clothes line we had in the backyard of the bungalow we lived in until I was eight.
It was an ingenious design: instead of stretching from post to post across the yard, a single pole had crosspieces on top, with the lines strung around like a giant dream catcher. The idea was, you could stand in one place, taking down the now-dry clothes that were once wet from the process of going from dirty to clean.
Just pull off the socks and shirts on one side, give the top a turn, and there were your sheets and pillowcases. Instead of having to walk back and forth, you could stand in one place and gather in all that clean cloth, smelling of air.
I used to think that clothes line would be a nice metaphor for life, just standing there putting your finished chore into a basket. But then I grew up, and now I know better: the laundry never really does get clean, the air is far from fresh, and we all just keep walking as we try to gather it all together.