Along the continuum of aggravations that we confront in our day to day experiences ,are those moments where someone or something really gets to us. We feel the tension in our bodies and we convey it in our body language, unless we are professional poker players and no one ever sees us lose our cool and concentration. The majority of us don’t fit into that category. These moments include being cut off in traffic, those people who have 14 things in the 10 or less line and we are two people behind them and we are already running late, and often it is as minute as some else getting that parking space that you have been waiting for and they just turn in, right where you can see them, and kind of smile at you, sheepishly from behind their sunglasses. Don’t you just hate those people at that moment? Welcome to my dryer lint theory. This theory is absolutely not proprietary so it’s there for everyone to consider. I found it by accident when I was repeatedly trying to explain life’s annoyances to adolescents who were on the brink of feeling as though they were going to blow up and actually fight with another kid, as high school students (and other humans) consider (maybe not consciously) doing at moments. This is when their rage, pride, and feelings of being discounted and ignored rise to the surface and there seems like only one way to go.
For those of you who may not remember the steps of doing laundry, this is a quick refresher guide. I operate on the belief that your mission is to get it done and have clean, dried clothing and sometimes the path to this is obstructed with decisions about separating the colors (this is not a metaphor unless you wish it to be), delicate versus heavy duty and does it really matter how much hot water you want to put your clothes in or can you use cold water to keep things from not turning into baby sized clothes. Yes, I can agree, that there are some decisions involved. But once you do the wash, remembering the end goal of clean and dried, and that everything fits and things have not turned pink or gray, you want to expedite the process to its conclusion. At this moment you may be considering that perhaps I over think this process and there are moments where laundry becomes my Sisyphusian challenge. But back to dryer lint theory, which is a reminder that in order to make our clothes dry quicker, we have to remove, and eliminate the dryer lint. It’s annoying, and pretty nondescript (of a meh kind of color). It is so not important in the scheme of things. And yet, the dryer manufacturer offers a strong warning that if you don’t take care of it, and remove it every time you dry your clothes, it could result not only in the extended time of completing the drying cycle, but it could…..CAUSE A FIRE!!! Sounds scary to me and I try to be mindful of that…when I am feeling hateful toward people who are merely dryer lint in my days.
There’s a power that I extend to the high school students I spend a lot of time with, that explains that their nemesis can be broken down to being the dryer lint annoyances in their days. That when you take a step back and look at the level of their reaction to the content of the misdeed, it may really just come down to a case of dryer lint. I encourage them (and often myself) to just take a breath, really evaluate the injustice, and imagine the other person as a giant wad of dryer lint. I just throw that gray/blue mass in the trash and go on with my laundry and my day. I think to myself “you, annoying person/situation are just another example of dryer lint”. When a kid gets the dryer lint theory, their faces light up and it is as though they now get it and can learn the balance of what they are going to allow to annoy them. It becomes a thing. When something becomes a thing, it feels better.
So go about your business, as I shall do, too. Do your laundry, park your car, get your stuff and while you have a moment between things, contemplate how much dryer lint you have gotten rid of, and calculate the number of small annoyances that could have been dryer fires that you have averted because of my public service communication. You’re most welcome.
P.S. Found my missing gold hoop earring. Story for another day.