Idle Thoughts over the Ironing Board

iron-clip-art_419552What!? You still iron? No one irons anymore.

Yes, I’ve observed that. But to my mind, with the exception of seersucker, there’s hardly any fabric that can’t be made to look better with the ministrations of a warm iron or a burst of steam.

To the idle thoughts. Which do you suppose came first: women’s clothing manufacturers skimping on fabric to make short sleeves that are too short or women half-killing themselves in daily exercising to tone their upper arms so as to accommodate the too-short sleeves? And don’t blame Michelle Obama, she of the super-toned arms. She is just a product of her times, what I like to think of as the fitness obsessed generation.

As someone who hasn’t shown her own upper arms in public in decades, I find it all very distressing. I watch women newscasters on TV, their arms bared through all seasons, and it makes me feel personally cold, even more so in winter. Do the studio lights keep those women from breaking out in goose bumps? I’m grateful to Rachel Maddow who continues to show up in a suit jacket atop the jeans that you know are hidden from camera range.

And speaking of cold, how about restaurants? In most, the cold air blasts right along with the music, and people of a certain age huddle in their booths, swaddled in shawls and cardigans pretending they can hear enough to follow the conversation.

Here in Los Angeles, this city built atop a desert, the temperature plummets once the sun goes down. So I am frequently cold. I keep waiting for my East Coast body to acclimate to West Coast temperatures but it doesn’t appear it’s going to happen. Our mailman wears shorts year-round and people live in flip-flops if they’re wearing anything on their feet at all. A young man in the pew ahead of me in church one day was barefooted. At one point he began standing on one foot, with the other foot resting, sole up, on the seat. I stared at the bottom of his foot which was understandably not clean.

In the wintertime, when daytime temperatures hover in the high-50s and low-60s, I’ll be driving around sometimes wearing two sweaters and a jacket. On the street, I’ll see people in tank tops and shorts. It takes all my self-control not to open the window and shout, “Put some clothes on before you catch your death!”

But this is summertime with the state of undress even more exaggerated. People deal with the drought and wish for rain. And I find my idle thoughts moving in other directions. Like: Do you suppose there is a job description for the person who assures that more than one tissue at a time emerges from the box? Or the one who makes sure that the tube of sunblock dispenses far more product than one needs to protect those over-exposed limbs? Just thinking.

4 comments on “Idle Thoughts over the Ironing Board

  1. Margo says:

    How you unfailingly skewer truisms with deft, grace and artistry. I love your writing and point of view.

  2. Lewis Dana says:

    Absolutely agree with all points in the preceding comment.

    But I must add a little clarification. The writer has clearly never visited the University of Vermont in mid-Winter when shorts and flip flops (OK, that’s an extreme)… shorts and hiking boots are de rigeur for the student body.

    Also, here in Providence, our mailman, who has been on this route for more than 20 years, unfailingly wears shorts until he gets the annual ukase from the USPS to adhere to the uniform code issued around February 15th when the February thaw arrives, at which point he reverts to shorts to await the next pronunicamento from GHQ which is promulgated to salute the annual rite of the Easter blizzard/Nor’Easter combo which plunges the state into darkness and abject longing for spring.

    • patnieder says:

      Ed just reminds me there was a campus character at the University of Missouri (also not a tropical climate) who dressed all winter in tee-shirt, khaki pants and sandals, no socks nor jacket. The fact that any of this is cause for comment means just one thing, Lew: We are old.

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