I'm finding that I must remind myself of this phrase periodically, especially in my new location. Life has changed since I grew up here. In those days, I would often run into acquaintances or friends at the store. Many locals owned farms, not for pleasure or hobby, but for sustenance. There was a sort of wild west feel with skiers wearing cowboy hats and Levis on the ski slopes and a "come as you are" mentality. There weren't black tie restaurants nor business suits at each corner. People lived in "ranch-style" one level homes and a 2,000 sq. ft. house was a mansion. And remember, I'm not really that old--it wasn't that long ago!
In contrast, there are now turnabouts with artwork in their middles at each intersection. New roads lead to housing developments with homes so large they previously would have been considered a ski lodge. Developments tout charming names like Brambleberry, Awbrey Glen, and Pine Nut on a Limb. Everywhere I look the developments are quaint and manicured and perfect. The wrath of a thousand agitations will befall the poor soul that dares to park their BMW on the curb rather than in their garage in many of these developments.
This aesthetic does provide a certain air of propriety and serenity in what was already a beautiful area. But sometimes it is taken a little too far. Like, for instance, this (and more sarcastically, this)... It describes a woman who lives in one of these serene and manicured developments. A woman who did the unthinkable: she dared to hang her lurid laundry upon a line, outside, in plain view. Lurid being towels and linens, and perhaps the occasional blouse. I am not referring to thong underwear and bullet-bras here.
This article hit a nerve in me because of the recent novel I read for one of my classes, The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sara Orne Jewett. It is a beautiful description of life before the turn of the last century along the Maine sea----a time when people knew their neighbors and ate their food from their garden, or in this case, from the sea. A time when each backyard had a clothesline with clothes flapping in the warm breeze as if in welcome to passersby. A time in history when pretension wasn't growing rampant like some invasive species, for the hard task of just plain old living uprooted any pretentiousness before it could spread. Times have changed.
More reading? Here's a wonderful article about the promotion of clotheslines in Oregon with great information about the energy use of dryers.