in the old-fashioned way. Not on the rocks by the river or with a scrubbing brush on a wooden board, but at least carefully and slowly. He considers anything careful and slow to be old. Bones in their walking, but also any actions taken with some measure of familiarity or forethought.
When he returns from the gymnasium he feels like a young man. Muscled, pushed and warm, aglow as he will ever be. Pleased with himself somewhat for the doing of what he’s just done.
Most often than not he boils a kettle and fills a tea sack with spearmint. Prevaricates long enough for the water to begin boiling and then fills up the pot. His tea steeps for precisely the amount of time it takes him to shower himself convincingly. But it is in the time of the stripping (between the brewing and washing) that he is young, and especially with regard to his socks, which he tears off and pairs to make them easier (somehow) to throw into the hamper along with his other dirty clothes.
He always does this and never thinks of it. The action pleases him. The certain and tidy way of it. Deposited and dismissed.
Days later and standing before the open hatch of his washing machine he carefully transfers all the lighter colored clothing he has collected up, but stops every second or so to separate the paired socks back into singles to ensure their efficient cleaning. In equal measure to his previous, young, carelessness, he now diligently prepares these articles as a mother will for her child. Taking better care of another.
Sometimes he smiles (inwardly at least) at the thought that he is not annoyed at his previous self, but instead is happy to do this small service. A yin and a yang, but also something which speaks to him of his self-completeness.
At the hamper he is young and at the washer he is old, and always reminded of the Confucian Chow Tun who said:
Heaven produces ten thousand things through yang and brings them to completion through yin.
His yang is in the socks. Mister Chu is almost certain of it.