It turns out that Wayne, my investigator, and I both do the laundry in our households. Apparently, neither one of us has a wife who understands that you cannot put whites in with the colored clothes, set the dial to hot water, and then expect to have the whites coming out like they looked before. As I tell my wife, you can use bleach to keep the whites white. But once that whiteness is gone, no amount of bleach will restore that piece of clothing to its former glory.
We are talking about this — comparing laundry strategies the way men tend to do when they get together — when Wayne decides to go one up on me. Wayne doesn’t just use fabric softener; he also waits until the rinse cycle before he puts it in. That’s the only way it really works, he tells me. You can’t put it in at the beginning of the first cycle with the detergent and bleach.
I did not know this.
I complain to Wayne that my wife and son seem to use about three times as many clothes as I do. My wife was skeptical when I mentioned the ratio of their dirty clothes to mine, and I was tempted to do an actual clothing count. I was able to resist this urge; I am not that petty. But my unofficial calculations suggest that my wife and son would each have to change clothes four or five times a day in order to generate that much laundry. And they only use a towel once before they throw it into the laundry hamper.
Wayne nods at me sympathetically. He knows what I am talking about.
Sometimes I find clothes in the dirty clothes hamper that are clean and folded. Apparently it is easier to walk to the hamper than it is to the bureau.
Wayne is quiet so I continue: I fold clothes but I will not put them away. And I definitely will not sort socks. White socks go into one drawer, dark socks in another. A man has to draw the line somewhere.
This is when Wayne reveals his laundry secret: He knots a pair of socks together before throwing them into the laundry basket. That way they never get separated in the wash.
This is what we talk about on our way to an alleged crime scene. Wayne is at the wheel of his SUV. The client, sitting in the back, is quiet. I’m thinking the client is impressed. He is not at all sorry that he hired us. We clearly know what we are talking about. Too bad Wayne is such a show-off.
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