February 28, 2004

Laundry lists

It's a balmy 55 out there, and I have my windows open. Magnificent! Of course, it's not supposed to get above 50 again for another week... ah well. Monday's supposed to be really stormy, so perhaps that means that the end of March will be more mild.

I was just reading something that said Dr Seuss wrote most of one of his books on the back of a laundry list in one afternoon. What struck me here was the notion of a concrete, physical "laundry list". This set me to wondering about the idiomatic expression---as in, "He's got a whole laundry list of stuff for us to do", meaning a big long list of possibly not-very-related items. But what would that be, non-idiomatically? Did people at some point itemise their laundry somehow? I know that even when I was doing laundry at a laundromat, this involved piling it all into a big wheeled hamper and divvying it up into four to six loads, which weren't much more itemised than "white load #1" or "blue load #2". Or was a "laundry list" just some sort of "to-do" list, of which "do laundry" was but a single item?

"The weakening of marriage has been heterosexuals' doing, not gays', for it is their infidelity, divorce rates and single-parent families that have wrought social damage." --The Economist

Posted by blahedo at 4:31pm on 28 Feb 2004
If you were of the sort that sent your laundry out to be washed, and they charged by the item (instead of by the pound), you would indeed have an itemized list of everything you had laundered as part of the bill. And you might want to itemize it yourself in order to cross-check against what you got back to ensure nothing was lost. As a matter of fact, not more than ten feet from me is a form that would be, should I choose to use it, a laundry list. I'm in a hotel with a laundry service. Posted by kelly at 2:30pm on 29 Feb 2004
Huh. Seems like an awful lot of work. Posted by blahedo at 12:07pm on 1 Mar 2004
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