I find lots of things in the washing machine after the clothes have been washed. A lot of these things make sense to me. I’ve found coins. I’ve found 5 Euro notes, which I’m always terrified will fall to pieces when I unfold them. I’ve found 50 Euro notes, which are even more anxiety-inducing than the 5 Euro notes. One day, I took the clothes out of the dryer, and it was as if the shirts were laying 50 Euro notes, rather like the goose and the golden eggs. Every time I picked up another shirt to fold, out floated a 50 Euro note. I’ve found little plastic Peppa Pig figurines, looking shiny new, Hello Kitty dolls, and finger puppets. I’ve found keys, empty chip bags, receipts and notes. Yesterday, with every piece of clothing pulled out of the machine, out tumbled a brightly-coloured golf tee.
But, today’s discovery was by far the strangest.
It was a slice of ham.
That’s right, you read correctly.
A slice of ham.
In fact, it was an entire slice of ham, remarkably in tact, smelling of lavendar, and clean as clean could be. The colours had been renewed, and it was soft enough to dress your baby in.
Now, most likely, the ham was dropped into the washing basket by the little one when she got bored of eating it, but I like to amuse myself with other stories of how it came to be there. Perhaps someone got confused, and thought the dirty washing basket was the bin. Perhaps the cat picked it up out of the kitchen and went and hid it in the machine, like a chipmunk storing nuts for winter. Perhaps someone decided it was dirty and put in the washing machine to be cleaned. Perhaps it was an alive piece of ham, like in a Pixar animation, or that terrifying beer commercial with the walking tongue, and it was attempting to make its escape via the washing basket.
But my favourite theory is that someone in my house carries around ham in their pocket. You know, for ham emergencies.
‘This sandwich needs a slice of ham, stat!’
‘The vegetarian’s fainted from anaemia! Quick, pass me a slice of ham!’
‘We’re being robbed by armed bandits, I’ll throw my emergency ham in their face, while you make a run for it!!’