Does anyone else iron? You know, you take a piece of wrinkled clothing, put it on an ironing board, and use a hot metal object to smooth it out? Am I the only person left who does this?
A few times I have mentioned ironing, just in an offhand comment to a friend - I have to do the ironing, or, don't look at all the clothes hanging there, that's just ironing - and they've reacted with disbelief. "You iron?? Who irons anymore?!"
Me. I iron my own clothes, and those of my partner. (Allan and I split the household chores very equitably; this just happens to be my domain.) We wear cotton tees, both long and short-sleeve, and button-down cotton shirts, and they get wrinkled in the wash, and I iron them. I don't like how our clothes look without it.
Ironing is boring drudgery, and it helps to have something to watch on TV while I'm doing it. That's the problem: what to watch? I can't watch just any old crappy TV; it has to be something that holds my interest. That doesn't leave many choices.
I used to iron during baseball games. (That's an amusing image, isn't it?) But in recent years, I can't do any housework at night. I don't know if it's my age or my fibromyalgia, or some combination of the two, but I'm too tired for chores in the evening. Now I only watch baseball from the couch, with my glass of wine.
One day, about a year before we moved to Canada, I was flipping channels, trying to find something that would let me get the ironing done without calcifying from boredom. "Law & Order" re-runs work, as does "ER", but I couldn't find any. (Must have been the one hour a day when Law & Order re-runs are not on in the US.) And then: eureka. Some station was showing re-runs of "Dallas".
Dallas! The only soap opera I ever followed. In the early 80s, while I was living in Brooklyn and working in the off-Broadway theatre, my roommate was addicted to night-time soaps. If you've ever dabbled in soaps, you know a little exposure is all it takes. If we weren't busy on a Friday night, we would camp out in her room with popcorn and J.R. I had already missed the show's early years and many of its most famous episodes, but no matter. I got hooked, fast.
This was the heyday of cheesy night-time soaps. Many of my co-workers watched "Dynasty" (apparently there was a gay male interest), there was "Knots Landing" (the twins! the twins!), the forgettable "Falcon Crest" and a bunch of others. But for no apparent reason, there was only "Dallas" for me.
A few years later, when I was living alone and working as a nanny (and writing my first book), Allan would make fun of my Dallas craving - until he got hooked, too. On Friday nights, I would call my former roommate and sing the theme song on her answering machine. (Duuh, da-duh, da-duh da-da-da-da...)
And many years later, Dallas re-runs proved perfect for ironing. I rode that wave for a long time.
Then we moved to Canada. No more Dallas.
For the past two years, on every ironing day (either weekly or every-other week), I struggle to find a show to iron to. CBC News during the day will sometimes work, and there's usually a Simpsons re-run somewhere, but it's been tough. (Was it actually tough or am I exaggerating for effect? Here's a clue: how tough could it have been if I never blogged about it?)
That is, until my birthday. As part of this year's Incredibly Thoughtful Gift, Allan gave me the first four seasons of Dallas on DVD.
Everyone has a so-called "guilty pleasure". Not that you should ever feel guilty about pleasure, but something mindless and silly, something purely relaxing and enjoyable, with no other redeeming value. One smart, hard-working friend of mine reads dumb women's magazines. Another reads junky genre novels. I have Dallas.
I've never seen the whole show from beginning to end. But you better believe I'm going to own all 14 seasons before too long.