Only now, since he hasn’t touched the vacuum cleaner again, do I know it was a diversionary tactic. For 20 years, we’ve focused our marriage efforts on discovering the perfect cheese grater and uncovering the ideal alarm clock. Failure to find them binds us.
My beloved did get derailed by condiments around the 17th year – he felt strongly that we needed to turn our attention to reducing the number of condiments housed in the refrigerator door – but I shook him by the shoulders and reminded him of our mission. He came to his senses, climbed back on the wagon and swore to walk the straight and narrow.
The will is strong, but the flesh is weak. Two weeks ago, without warning he asked me, “How do you feel about our vacuum cleaner?”
Taken aback, I denied feelings for the vacuum. It stays in the closet and I rarely visit it behind the closed door. “Why?” I answered. “How does it feel about me?”
This was his big chance to say, “It’d like to see more of you,” but he missed it. Instead, he grabbed my elbow and swept me into the Oreck store.
Inside the store, my husband divulged our housekeeping secrets. “Our current vacuum doesn’t clean our rugs,” he complained. This was a misrepresentation of its work ethic. It can’t clean the rugs from the closet.
Beloved began waving his arms and animatedly describing the annoyance of guiding our vacuum over a piece of fuzz on the floor from every angle while the appliance refuses to inhale the fuzz. “You could end the insanity and reach down yourself and pick it up,” I said. The salesman, already privy to too much of our personal life, thought I was trying to thwart his spiel. He responded by bringing our charts and diagrams of vacuum cleaner innards. He tossed debris on the carpet and invited us to try out the merchandise.
That flipped my husband’s switch. No display model was safe from his entreaties about its operation and power. He removed them all from their stands and proceeded to drive each around the showroom, pushing, pulling and spinning. This level of emotion and enthusiasm was unprecedented.
The next thing I know, we’re walking out of the Oreck store with the gold standard in industrial vacuum cleaners and assurances that our house will be as pristine as Holiday Inns across America. The instant we arrived home, my soul mate put it to work, pushing and pulling it across our area rugs and shouting “See!” and “Look!” and “Wow!” over the whir of the motor.
Looking back, I think he was hoping the movement would excite me and entice me to play with it, the same way dangling a string stimulates a kitten into action. I’m no spring kitten. I let him finish the rugs.
The Oreck is in the closet next to the old bag-less behemoth. They’ve yet to fight for my affections. To my husband’s credit, though, he has refreshed things around here. We’ve entered another stage and I like it. New glue never hurt a good marriage.