Patience By Ironing

Like most people who have been cooped up by COVID-19 shutdown orders, I’m getting impatient for it all to end so we can go on about our daily lives.  But impatience is kind of a self-defeating emotion, when you think about it.  Inevitably, you feel impatient only about something that you have no control over — because if you did have control, you’d have taken care of it already.  As a result, impatience just leads to frustration. 

When it comes to the coronavirus and the isolation orders, we’re just going to have to be patient a little bit longer.

If you’re looking for a way to learn the value of patience, I’ve got one word for you:  ironing.  Since I’ve stopped going to the office, I don’t send my work shirts out for laundering and pressing.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t still value the feel of a crisp, freshly pressed shirt, however.  So, I iron my shirts myself.  And if I’ve learned one thing about ironing, it is that it can’t be rushed.  Ironing may, in fact, be the single most deliberate, patient task on the roster of common household chores.

Consider the sleeve on a man’s shirt.  It’s basically a tube of fabric, and unless you have a special device you can’t iron one part of the fabric at a time.  Instead, you’ve got to carefully lay the sleeve on the ironing board, pat down and smooth out the fabric to make sure there are no wrinkles on the fabric facing you or on the ironing board side of the sleeve, and then apply your iron.  If you rush the process or try to take a shortcut, you’re likely to iron a crease into the sleeve — which kind of defeats the idea of ironing in the first place. 

The same careful process has to be followed with the button down collar, and the cuffs, and the area between the buttons on the shirt front.  Each step must be approached with meticulous attention.  If you take your time and do things right, you’ll end up with a neatly ironed shirt that looks nice that will make you feel good about a job well done.  If you don’t approach the ironing process with patience and deliberation, you’ll end up with a shirt full of unwanted creases and wrinkles that cries out for a do-over. 

My grandmother used to say:  “Patience is a virtue.  Possess it if you can.  It’s seldom found in woman, and never found in man.”  Not surprisingly, Grandma knew the value of a good ironing job.      

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