I’m sitting here in my armchair at ten p.m. waiting for the dryer to ding. A year ago, it began running through its cycle in exactly half the time it takes to actually dry a load of the family skivvies. I’ve become resigned to these late-night sessions when my body wants to crawl into bed, but my brain knows the laundry will get that fuggy smell if it sits all night, half-dried.
I tried everything short of buying a new machine. I even (I’m ashamed to say) got a bit short with the appliance repairman, after his third or fourth trip to the house in as many months. (Sorry, Marty). Apparently, whatever’s causing the dryer to gallop headlong through its cycle is a head-scratcher.
So I’ve learned to sit back with the dictionary on my lap, researching words for the next alphabet story-painting. Tonight I’m trolling through the S’s for a newborn named Sophia while socks and shirts and scanties tumble, with the occasional musical clink mixed in when someone’s button makes contact with the metal dryer drum.
I write down sachet and sash and saffron. Sash immediately calls Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music to mind, and before I know it, she’s almost sung me to sleep with her “blue satin sashes” jazz.
I shrug myself awake and start thinking about the island of Saipan and Chinese sampans while a sneaky Montana-February draft slides through the window frame.
I reach the many pages of sand words, followed closely by sea words, and linger awhile, imagining surf swishing on shingle beaches.
I tackle six more pages until…
Clink! says a button, and I surface from daydreaming about sarsaparilla, which I actually wrote down before the sea words, but which keeps whispering itself to me because it is such a scintillating specimen.
A few pages on I encounter the scissortail, and shortly afterward, sedges. Perhaps a marsh-scene?
Then come sedum and seedcake and seesaw.
Then four pages of self words, which I quickly turn past, and finally…