The other day I bought a clothes airer. I know I should have one already; but I just didn’t, OK? I’m the one that’s losing out because not only is it costing me hundreds of pounds in dryer time, but it’s making a mockery of my anti-wrinkle fabric conditioner. But, after a few weeks without one, I now have an airer – it’s sort of an important thing, isn’t it? You don’t realise how essential it is until it’s gone, like oxygen only you hang wet socks off of it.
We used to have one at our old flat but then in the fuss and panic of packing, we left it behind. I’m not proud of myself for doing it but there was no space left for it in the car. I keep expecting to see one of those charity films on the telly about it – ‘This is Airer, he was abandoned by his owners in the boiler room of a flat with no food or water. Please give £3 a week or whatever you can…’ I felt as though I had left a child behind at Euro Disney; only this child wouldn’t be getting free trips on Space Mountain, because we never had a Space Mountain at our old flat. And it’s an airer, as I’ve said. Not a child. It was an odd feeling, having an emotional connection to a metallic frame covered in white plastic with blue safety knobs on, but I did – I could picture the moment it arrived into my life, like a new born baby, or a late delivery from Argos (which it was).
It was just before I left for university, I’d had a sudden panic that maybe I was unprepared for independent living, so I had an emergency stock-up. BHS never knew what hit them – bedding, desk lamps and hole punches – the lot. In all my three years at university I have never used a hole punch and I’m never sure I will, but if the time comes for something to be holed, then I’ll be there clamping my way to victory. I’d done all this shopping and suddenly realized I would need to wash my clothes, now a lot of students would just bring them home on weekends and holidays but I had a better idea; I was going to get my mum to drive up and collect them for me, a sort of motherly laundry collection service, if you will. I was going to call it Mum’s Wash Dash but she wasn’t keen. Instead she bought me some washing tablets and the airer. I can still remember pulling the plastic off that rigid frame; it was like Christmas at the Home Essentials department of Wilkinsons. We’ve been through a lot him and me, now he’s gone; airing out other people’s clothes and it’s all my fault.
So, we were pushed to by a new one, because we only have so many backs of chairs to hang stuff off (we would have more but ours is a solely beanbag-furnished house). I was going to go for the same, traditional fold-out airer but instead I thought I’d upgrade. We chipped in the extra £1.65 and got a three-storey collapsible model and you know what? It’s rubbish. I dried some clothes yesterday and it took me twenty minutes to get the thing up, another twenty to get it down again and the blue connector-y bits kept dropping off, like some demented Crystal Maze game. I’ve never been this disappointed with a purchase, except for the time I bought the film Jurassic Park. I’m sorry but, to me, that title suggests 90 minutes of dinosaurs playing on swings and slides. By not having two stegosauruses on a seesaw, Mr. Spielberg, you have made a grave mistake.
So now I’m in a new house with a new airer and I don’t like it. I pine for my old airer, he was trusty, he was faithful, he was reliable. He didn’t just support my clothes, he supported me and now I’m alone and damp at the seams. My heart is creased. I’m sorry; sorry I rejected you and hung you out to dry. Oh, the irony.
From: 5th September, 2012.