My husband has been doing our laundry. He has always done our laundry, but lately, it has become suspicious. Three hours for two loads? Hmm.
Though yes, I realize that timing does work out, it's the glee with which he takes the hamper full of clothes to our RV campsites' laundry facilities that leaves me curious.
He's never experienced such joy when doing our laundry at home. One could surmise that he simply is grateful when we come across a washer and dryer, because that means he isn't washboarding our clothes and line-drying them — which, I admit, has become a far less pleasurable experience now that we have entered autumn, with its cool weather and even colder rainfalls. However, I suspect that something far more secretive and nefarious is afoot. I suspect that laundry has become the new bathroom.
Long has our culture lampooned the lengthy duration of the man on the toilet — a time of escape from family, from responsibility, from honey-do lists. The patriarchal bathroom break was typical sitcom fodder in the late 1980s and the '90s. On its surface, I cannot fault this desire for alone time and the need to take it in one of the few places where a closed door is (at least sometimes) respected. As a child, I used to escape the noise of my home by bringing a chapter book into the bathroom. Since I've become a mother, these attempted escapes for a moment of solitude have only increased. (However, they're becoming less successful.)
The notable difference between my washroom visits and my husband's is the accessories. Namely, what I enter the facility with I exit with. I enter with a chapter book; I leave with a chapter book. On the other hand, my husband can enter with nothing and return with a new sofa, Dodgers memorabilia and a crossbow, as if the bathroom is akin to Mary Poppins' handbag.
"What?" he'll say as I look at him.
"What were you doing in there?" I'll ask.
"Shaving," he'll reply.
"With an arrow tip?"
He doesn't know what I'm talking about. He never knows what I'm talking about. I stick my head in the bathroom and look around, trying to find this portal to play.
When I escape to the bathroom, it is accompanied by children rattling the doorknob and saying, "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama." I leave with a to-do list of everything that needs to be cleaned. My husband walks out with a pep in his step and — are those new slacks? Wait. Did you just get a haircut?
He swirls his brandy and says he just took a shower. He questions what on earth I am talking about.
Wait a minute. Where did the brandy come from?
I'm pretty sure the laundry facilities have the same type of wardrobe access to Narnia that our bathroom has. Not the RV bathroom; it's far too small to contain any portal to another dimension. That explains why doing the laundry has become his new escapism of choice. It explains why I'm still trying to lock myself away in the bathroom for 10 minutes of alone time while living in a 32-foot motorhome but my husband suddenly never takes more than two minutes. He doesn't need it anymore. He has laundry. Three hours of alone time later, my husband returns with warm, clean, folded laundry, hot dinner leftovers and a new pet mongoose for the kids.
Look, I'm not angry. I just want in.
I've tapped every inch of the walls in our bathroom. Nada. Yesterday I followed my husband into the laundry facility and began opening the lids of the machines. But I was caught by my husband before a machine had the chance to suck me in to the amusement park of the other realm.
I do the dishes, but the suds don't expand into a giant bubble that I float away in like Glenda the Good Witch. Where is this portal?
OK, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly about the things my husband returns from the bathroom and laundry facilities with. We don't actually have a pet mongoose running around the RV now. But sometimes it feels true. So very true.
Maybe it's just because he looks so relaxed after that alone time. Maybe a little downtime makes all people look as if they're emerging from other dimensions with a hot meal and a new haircut. Maybe I need to start doing the laundry.
From now on, that chore is mine!
Hold up. Have I just been tricked?
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.