On Arguing with the Grandmother

Today was gorgeous here in Baltimore. The sun was out, it was bright, and it was warm, a far cry from the rainy, miserable, cold dreariness we've had the past few days.

Naturally, this meant laundry.

I'm a firm believer in the use of the clothesline. Dress shirts smell so much better air dried. They have a natural smell to them that you can't get from a dryer.

I put a load of shirts and pants in the washing machine and started it up. Then upstairs for another cup of coffee.

About ten minutes later my grandmother said, “I hear the pump.”

I nodded. “I'm doing a load of laundry.”

“You can't do that.”

“And I can't do that… why?”

“Because the well will go dry.”

I took a gulp of coffee. “After all it's rained this week”–an inch and a half yesterday, in case anyone was wondering–“I don't think water's an issue.”

“But you've used it all.”


“Showers. Dishes. Cooking. You can't do laundry. The well will go dry.”

“So all the rain we've had…”

“That doesn't go in the well. It goes in the septic tank.”

“Riiight. Well, the laundry's in, and when it's done I'm going to hang it out on the line to dry.”

“You can't do that. It's Sunday.”

“And that's important… why?”

“Because we don't do things like that on Sunday around here.”

“You know, things change. And when the laundry's done I'm going to hang it out on the line, and I'll do another load because with all the rain we've had we have the water.”

“Things don't change like that just because you're here, Allyn. You can't do things like that.”

“If you'll excuse me,” I said, and I walked past her out of the kitchen.

“Come back here,” she said. “I'm still talking to you.”

I opened the door to the basement. “Wrong preposition. You're talking at me.” And I went downstairs, my coffee in hand. First the telephone police. Now this. Her grip on reality is tenuous at best, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. *sigh*

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