The Freak Next Door

I was recently alerted to the fact that I am a freak. I learned this because I mentioned in passing to someone that I iron each week. Yes. I am that person. And apparently there are a lot of people who do not iron and never would. There are people who don’t even own an iron. I had no idea that was even legal.

I learned how to iron when I was 13 or 14. I ironed my navy blue, polyester movie theater uniform that smelled of popcorn and cleaning solvent. As a college student, I ironed my preppy, khaki pants to ensure they were crisp. When I got my first apartment, I ironed all my work clothes. I even ironed my t-shirts and shorts when I was a stay-at-home mom with toddlers because I figured that, even if I hadn’t showered, my clothes could tell others I was not totally losing it. Currently, I am ironing cloth napkins for our dinner table tonight because we’re fancy like that. The best part about ironing is that my entire closet is filled with clothes that are ready to go at a moment’s notice if the Queen of England shows up to join me for afternoon tea.

While I never fault a person for their choice not to iron, I cannot say I understand that lifestyle. It’s such a small thing to do to show yourself some love and respect. I like to start my fall days in a merino sweater that has been neatly pressed, even if I have no plan to leave the house. I may not be the youngest, the prettiest, the strongest, or the bravest but, dammit, I can be the ironedest! That is within my purview.

Can I tell you a secret about my dirty little habit? One of the benefits of ironing is that no one in my house wants to do it, so when I pull the ironing board out they all head for the hills. Hello, alone time! I queue up a new show I want to binge or a fascinating documentary I read about online and steam press my way through an hour plus of solitude. No one dares to approach and interrupt me. It’s another win-win in my life.

I am fairly certain the only way I will ever stop ironing is if someone else decides to do it for me, which seems highly unlikely at this point, or if I find some twelve-step program for people frittering hours of their wild, precious life away at the ironing board. If you hear of such a group, let me know. Maybe I can grow? Maybe I can learn to let some wrinkles into my waking life? Or maybe I’ll go to the grave ironing? That might be the wisest choice. At least I won’t have to worry about what they pull out of the closet for my casket attire because we all know it will be pressed, presentable, and ready for viewing.