On Football and Folding Laundry

mundane meditationsMy brain is a strange blend of wild ideas and OCD organization. On the one hand I am a dreamer. I love to envision how things could be and dream up ideas for how to make it happen. I like to find creative outlets and explore new ideas. On the other hand, my brain likes order and precision. I alphabetize all my books, don’t leave anything out of place on my desk, and can’t get to work if there’s a mess in the room. Perhaps this is why I often find that I become most organized when life is most chaotic. Perhaps this is also why you can find me in the fall on Sunday afternoons folding laundry while watching football.

There’s something about the stop and go, violent action of football that mirrors the chaos of life. For example, even when we huddle up and make plans, things often don’t go as we expect. At other times, we seem to be desperately running from moment to moment with little planning, treating life like a Two Minute Drill down by a touchdown. I think this combination of planning and improvisation is one of the most appealing things to me about football, but I don’t always find this appealing in life. Too much of my life seems fast-paced and violent like the game of football. But in these moments, I need the peaceful rest of monotonous organization—hence the laundry.

The strict rules of color and water temperature, the decisive measuring lines for detergent and softener, the pre-set wash and dry cycles, and the consistent folding patterns are all for me a semblance of order in an age of anarchy. The successful transformation of soiled, smelly clothes into bright, clean, fresh-smelling fabric provides a sense of accomplishment—a type of mini-conquest against the assault of sweat produced by the trials of life. You could say that the peaceful monotony of Sunday afternoon laundry is the rule and order that lets good things run wild—hence the football.

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