Sunday, September 14, 2014

change of plan

I do my laundry by hand.

There's a washing machine in this yeogwan, I've been told, but I haven't had the heart to ask to use it. So I do my laundry by hand, third-world-style. It takes me about as long to do a full load of laundry as it takes the machine to do the same load; the main difference is that I can't wring the clothes as dry as the machine can spin them, which means the drying time for my hand-washed loads is necessarily rather long. Socks, tees, underwear, and shirts made of thin material are no problem to do by hand; pants—especially sweatpants—are, by contrast, a real bitch to hand-wash. Wringing out pants takes a good bit of muscle power, and I have to make sure not to twist too hard because otherwise I start popping stitches. So it's both strength and finesse that are needed, which makes hand-washing an activity that demands mindfulness. I can't say I love doing my laundry, but I do find it, to some extent, a meditative activity.

Right now, my clothes are drying. They've been drying for several hours, but the sweatpants are still soaked. Gravity helps dictate the drying pattern; I hang the clothes in front of a fan, and they dry from the top to the bottom. The yeogwan has its own fan, bolted high onto the wall; I've got a second electric fan—my own—which I've placed inside my tiny bathroom to dry the clothes that are hanging on the drying rack. Of course, I've got the air conditioning going full-blast to remove the humidity from the air; without the A/C, I'd be merely blowing the moisture around, and the clothes would dry only slowly. All of this requires a large amount of electricity, but luckily, I'm not being billed for utilities. Not yet, anyway: the day may come when a pissed-off yeogwan owner will track me down and demand that I pay W450,000 per month instead of W400,000 to compensate for the amount of electricity I'm using.

So after pondering the situation a bit, I've decided not to hit Namsan this evening. I feel guilty about not going, but I really have nothing I can wear for the hike. There's also the fact that, after the hike, I'd have to launder another set of clothes again, and after today's orgy of laundering activity, I don't think I could stand to do yet another load, however small.

Meanwhile, the mountain will be there for me. Mountains are faithful like that.


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