Fluffy the Lint-Man


 Aging & Attitude

Meshugana! Yes, I must be meshugana, crazy, a lunatic, or at least a little nutty, for thinking about dryer lint.

Dryer lint is on my mind this morning, and was yesterday as well as intermittently throughout the month. Let me be honest; dryer lint is glued to my brain and with every wash the question raised, “Where does this stuff come from?”

The mystery-grabbed my attention seven years ago after moving to Florida and leaving my clothing line behind in New Jersey.

Close your eyes, inhale, and remember the scent of fresh air mingled in laundry. I enjoyed twenty-five years of this simple life pleasure.

My clothesline was suspended outside a kitchen window across the driveway and secured to a beautiful one hundred year old maple tree. With the window open, I stretched and attach clothing to the line with wooden clothes pins held in my mouth. The clothing stayed out to dry, rain, or shine. Rainwater softened the fabric and decreed a final rinse.

There was no lint in my life.

In Florida, the sunshine state, most communities routinely prohibit clothing lines. Clean clothing flapping in the wind is considered unsightly. There is speculation that some snowbirds hang lines in the lanai.

Factor in the humidity, and the dryer is used a lot.

I remove a wad from the dryer lint catch and finger the lump. It is soft, light, and airy. White in color feels good in my hands. I roll small pieces between my hands. They become pipe cleaner in appearance, and I am constructing a figure; a man, like Frosty the Snowman, that I name Fluffy the Lint-man.

“Where do you come from?” I hear myself said aloud.

Fluffy the Lint-man stretches. His yawn fades, and returns a smile, “You talking to me?”

His tone suggests a Tony Soprano affiliation and I want to respond, “Yea, I’m talking to you, you got a problem with it?” However, I do not.

Instead, I try flattery and say, “You’re a cute clean cut looking guy made from lint, but where does lint come from?”

Lint-man says, “You gotta be kidding me, where does lint come from? What are you stupid; it comes from your clothes.”

Then like Rip Van Wrinkle waking up from sleep. and not having spoken in years, Fluffy gives a dissertation on weaved fabric deterioration when spin cycles work them over, and that hot air exhaust blows out the results we call lint.

He has given me a headache and thinking who cares where lint comes from, I know where it belongs; remove his smile, disassemble his arms, then legs, and toss his sorry self  in the trash.

Lint Man’s final words to me, “You really need to get a life.”

. . . just saying

11 thoughts on “Fluffy the Lint-Man

  1. The first shot I took in Venice was a narrow canal with clothes on a lines, which I found of utmost charm in a too-fast-paced & changing world… all far too much to my liking.
    You captured beautifully the nostalgia, the beauty of a lost habit, I could totally relate 🙂
    Thanks for the share!


    • Yes, nostalgia and the simple life, I can remember hanging clothes on an outdoor umbrella clothes dryer and getting lost in between the clothes dancing or something, whatever a ten year old would do, appreciate your comments, Claudia


  2. Haha brilliant! I too have only just discovered dryer lint. Having been raised to dry clothes outside (or on a clothes horse), I moved to Sweden where my apartment building has a communal laundry room and there aren’t really any facilities to dry anything other than the dryer… it’s been wonderful in some ways (an hour and everything is dry!!) but confusing in others… not least with regards to the lint issue. Let me know if you ever get an answer!


    • Claire, Sweden I’ve never been to Sweden, sounds wonderful.Where did you move from? Living in the Bronx, New York apartment we dried our clothes on the roof. My apartment was a fifth floor walk-up, 88 steps, the top floor; so my line was within easy reach. Lint is a product of our clothing that is produced when the fibers get beat and tossed around by the machines.


  3. Very cute. I still hang many of my “hanger” things outside using my opened patio umbrella or the towel rack from our patio set so no Mr. Lint Man there. This is a very creative piece Claudia. Thanks for making us all laugh and recall simpler times. Remember the sweet fragrance of sheets and pillowcases from the outdoors?


  4. Nice writing. Funny and memorable to many of us before dryers became popular and mandatory. See you thurs. Waiting for directions. Glenda


  5. Claudia … I live in one of those Florida communities that prohibit homeowners from hanging clothes out to dry. Oh, how I miss that. I remember how fresh the clothes smelled when I pulled them off the line when we lived in the country in New York state. And, yes, I have fantasized about hanging my clothes in the lanai. 😉


  6. I’m an American living in the UK, where dryers aren’t unknown but they’re not the norm. It rains almost as much as people think it does. We hang our clothes out. We also hang our clothes in. Eventually, they all get dry. The estate (don’t think of Downton Abby–it means subdivision) where we live has a rule against straight clotheslines but allows circular ones. We all ignore it and puts up whatever we want.


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