I’ve always told Specky, my wife that there is real art in soiling what is clean than the other way round. But wives being what they are, they keep cleaning soiled clothes over and over, day after day. They get up before you’ve even come to the climax of that wonderful dream you’re having. But one morning just as I was about to splash through some rather muddy terrain after having fought a few very determined terrorists trying to enter through our porous border somewhere in the Western front, some powerful force turned me around and said, ‘It’s time to clean. Time to take your #WashBucketChallenge.’
I stopped, whirled around but before I was able to execute that flying kick, I opened my eyes and saw her there beside my bed, smiling. It didn’t take me long to understand that my adventure was over and that I was back home in the world where I was born. Dreamtime was up. I sat up straight and said, ‘Good morning! I just saved us all from a group of hardy terrorists tonight and was about to come splashing to you through mud and slush. Some adventurous soiling is what sensual dreams are made of.’
‘Good that you’re back in the real world. A few of your adventure-soiled clothes are also waiting to be cleaned,’ she said, pointing to the pile on her side of the bed. I remembered that I was to take the #WashBucketChallenge and transform a pile of soiled clothes into as clean as possible.
Now if any reader were to ask me if the challenge was difficult or was like the question in an examination that no one attempts or not worth the time spent, I’ll just say that I have always been a keen observer and though I never handled the front-loading IFB washing machine that we have at home, I knew every trick that would make it purr like a kitten! So I took the pile of clothes and plonked them right in front of the machine in one of our bathrooms.
I opened the round door and remarked, ‘Looks like the porthole in a cruise ship, doesn’t it?’ There was no answer and so I went on to place one cloth after another until the process unnerved me and so I lifted the rest of the pile and just thrust it in.
‘That’s not the right way,’ interjected Specky immediately, ‘you’re supposed to check pockets and also see if there are any whose colour may come off. Take them all out and do it again please.’ So there I was, the super commando in my dreams, now putting clothes one by one back in the machine, carefully. This done, I did what I seen Specky do umpteen of times. Pour some detergent (I already had a packet of Ariel Matic detergent that was suitable for both front and top loading machines) into the container on the top and then turned the dials to their correct setting… yes, watching makes a man perfect, doesn’t it?
I then pressed the start button.
No sound at all. Not even the sound of water happily filling inside. There was this disturbing silence. So I murmured, ‘We will need to call the service engineer now.’
Specky smiled and said, ‘Are you sure?’
She then pointed to the main electricity switch that was still off. I switched it on and the machine trembled a bit and hummed happily.
Now if you think the day is over, think twice. Yes, it is the machine that does the washing and the rinsing and even the drying to some extent… but the clothes need to be taken out and put out on the clothesline for their final drying spell.
It was as I stood in our rear balcony to hang the clothes on the clothesline that I saw a naughty squirrel looking at me invitingly. This one even stood on her hind legs and beckoned boldly. The invitation was clear and my acceptance awaited. I said, ‘I’m game. Let’s play!’ And then I rolled up the first thing that I could grab and threw it at her after a careful aim. I missed. The game continued… until I realised that I had managed to fling the entire lot of washed clothes at the naughty squirrel and I felt I was in the centre of some battlefield with white and colourful cannonballs lying all around me.
Just then Specky came and stopped dead in her tracks. I said, ‘You’ve just missed the best hit and run game with a squirrel.’
‘I have. Have I?’ she said, and then added, ‘and now you’re back to the start of your challenge.’
‘The #WashBucketChallenge. Remember? You need to wash these clothes and blog about your experience.’
‘But I have. And I do have such a wild experience as well to write about,’ I protested. I then said, ‘What will I write on?’
Specky replied with sarcasm, ‘The art of soiling what is clean.’ But now I am back to the washing machine and placing the entire lot of clothes one by one…
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01 April 2015