Re: Clotheslines & Hanging Out Clothes
From: PattyMara (
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 14:27:37 -0600 (MDT)
In a message dated 8/21/99 5:34:09 PM  lilbert [at] writes:

<< Theory of Relativity:"The more trivial the issue relative
 to your daily life, the more you will need to discuss it, and the less
 likely you are to come to consensus", otherwise known as the "Law of
 Clotheslines". >>

As usual, Liz offers priceless words of wisdom.  At Tierra Nueva we now have 
FOUR clotheslines in four different quadrants on the site.  In the beginning 
when the first families moved in during construction  we strung ropes from 
tree to tree in our orchard.  We were unable to use our common house laundry 
room so we shared washers and hung makeshift lines in the south orchard.  
Later, I put up lines with sunken posts on the western boundry where our home 

When other households moved in and the common house opened for use, and the 
issue of clotheslines became hotly contested at business meetings (see Liz's 
Law of Clotheslines above) we went through the rigors of endless discussions 
about the unsightliness of laundry, the nimby/nimfy arguments and the general 
discomfort that most folks felt about the prospect of seeing other people's 
stuff hanging on a line.  It baffled me, all this huff and puff.  But I am a 
hanger of clothes (like Sharon) since my childhood (and the tactile memory of 
walking the length of the interior of a damp sheet tent will never leave me). 
 So I listened patiently to the concerns of my neighbors, and was relieved 
when the issue of sinking the new clothesline (spiderweb variety) near the 
laundry room was given a thumbs up, with a proviso of revisiting it in six 
months.  By the way, we got one that doesn't require a concrete base.  Easy 
installation, and the pole can be moved anytime.  Forty two bucks at the 
local hardware store.   

Well, six months has come and gone and no one has complained.  In fact it is 
becoming familiar to to see clothes filling the lines, and more folks are 
becoming acquainted with the heavenly aroma of line-dried bedsheets.  

Recently a fourth clothesline for the north ridge was proposed and passed 
with the six month proviso.  What seems to be happening is that we are slowly 
becoming less dependent on our gas dryers and more proficient at the fine art 
of solar drying.  It is gratifying to me to see this conversion to this 
simple low-tech solution.  There are households who will never take the time 
to line dry their clothes, but that's okay too.  All that matters to me is 
that for those of us who do, we are finding a deepening acceptance in the 
community.  This pleases me. 

My advice about clotheslines.  Don't be afraid of them.  They add a charming 
homespun quality to your community.  They become a gathering place for casual 
conversation. And after a short while nobody will care anymore about seeing 
everyone's underwear. 

Patty Mara Gourley
Tierra Nueva, central CA coast
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