Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tumble dryers

All Americans have them. They think we Brits are crazy for not having them, especially given the British weather. I suppose in places like Cumbria - or in cities like Seattle, or Chicago - where cold, damp weather is common, it makes sense to be able to dry your clothes indoors. And tumble dryers make even more sense in cities like Manhattan, where there's no room to swing a cat let alone put up a drying rack.

But people also have tumble dryers even in areas like Hermosa Beach, where there is year round sunshine and an abundance of ocean breezes for drying clothes. Every day here is, as my sister calls it, 'a good drying day'.

It's actually nothing to do with the climate, it turns out. It's all to do with convenience. It's just much much easier to dump a load of washing into a massive tumble dryer, knowing it will be dried an hour later. And the cost? Well, if you're using a shared unit in an apartment building you'll pay 75c or $1 to wash your clothes, and the same again to dry them. When the alternative is to lug your bag of damp clothes back to your apartment, well, why would you?

This is, after all, a country where a typical off-licence not only has a parking lot, it also has seats outside (in case you walked and got tired on arrival?), and offers delivery (for if you really can't be bothered to drive or walk).

I love convenience almost as much as the average American. But I just don't think, in a yard with the space and climate to host a lemon tree and several grapevines, that I can bring myself to use a tumble dryer.
Clothes would dry out here faster than you could say 'what's my carbon footprint?'
And the good news is, I can apparently have the best of both worlds: our fancy new dryer has a line drying setting.

TLOML suggests that this setting 'takes 24 hours and you have to finish the job on the radiator'. I am hoping that if you push that button a voice says 'Sure, just go ahead and step outside and hang your clothes to dry. Have a nice day.'

If I succumb to the appeal of the tumble dryer, I'll try that button and let you know.

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