Monday, October 11, 2010
You'll want to hold your nose on this one, with a clothes pin.
Jill Saylor lives in a mobile home in Canton, Ohio. Yet she has come to symbolize the battle between the old days when people were free and the new days where everything is litigated in court and freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
Americans are losing the rights to everything and they have nothing left to lose, the Janice Joplin lyrics from her song "Bobby McGee." But for Saylor, who came up with a small way to fight global warming, she's being hung out to dry by her trailer park management company.
The park where Saylor lives has a ban on drying your clothes out in public, in your backyard. If mobile homes even have a back yard. But according to the New York Times, Saylor is not alone. Turns out that in private communities -- places where an owner rents or leases out space for you to live -- the number one ban, among many, is one that prohibits the public drying of clothes on clothes lines outside of the home.
When I was young, I remember looking across out white picket fence and seeing dozens of backyards as far as the eye could see with cloths lines and clothes pins taut with damp clothes drying in the sun and waving in the breeze. Most of the clothes were sheets, shirts and pants. But you'd see the occasional underwear and bras and private things like lingerie. But it's not the saucy aspect of the practice that has the owners of Saylor's trailer park up in arms against her. They just don't like the site of clothes hanging on a clothes line. It makes the neighborhood look, "trashy" maybe?
But trashy has become our life in America these days where more and more controls are stripping away our private rights. We're living under oppressive restrictions that prohibit us from doing things that our parents and grandfathers took for granted. Some of the restrictions are the result of board members with nothing better to do. Others are the result of our own fears or maybe the conditioning which prohibits us from being the free people we are.
When I was young, our parents let us go trick-or-treating "until the street lights came on." These days, a child doesn't walk the street in daylight without a mother or parent closely monitoring them for tragedies like a child kidnapper, sexual predator or bullying by other students their age. And we're not talking just high school. We're talking kindergarten.
I used to walk to my kindergarten class. Was the world safer then or is it just a mental state of mind that is deteriorating?
Some economists claim that you can save as much as 20 percent on your home energy bills by hanging the clothes out to dry rather than running them through the dryer. Everyone has a washer and a dryer these days. It's an expensive convenience, but isn't convenience supposed to be expensive?
Everything has become a cause of a problem for someone else. We didn't have big backyard fences when I was a kid. They were short, picket fences you could see past and through. Today, everyone wants privacy. They erect wall-like wood fences that are six feet high to separate themselves from their neighbors. Maybe that is the real problem. We don't talk to each other any more. It's easy to dislike someone you don't know, and disliking people increases in a society where people lock themselves inside their castles to protect themselves from their neighbors, who might be sex predators and criminals on parole.
Common sense should rule but common sense is going out the window. The clothes lines that Saylor put up were not like the old days when the line stretched from the back fence to the brick wall of the back of the house in several rows. Or from poll to poll -- many people actually had clothes line polls cemented in the backyard as permanent fixtures, a service they paid for just as they pay for dryers from Sears or now Costco.
Saylor has a unique system of squares that minimized the visual size of the drying process. It is kind of like a rectangular maze with inner lines of clothes drying. It made it all look so efficient.
Why not? Well, some think what Saylor does doesn't look good.
I say the restrictions are all wet.
-- Ray Hanania