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⚑ June 27, 1999

Beachy Clean 🌊

Looking back, perhaps it was harsh to call this image Mom.

Looking back, perhaps it was harsh to call this image "Mom".

Well, it was a day at the beach, a sunny summer day at the beach.

I was having none of it, of course, because I’ve got Too Much Work to do. The paper went unread, Igor went unfed, but the bed is changed, the plants are watered, the laundry is done, and I vacuumed.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does everybody who has ever used one. Has there ever been another machine like it in the world, before or since? I’m not talking about the upright-bladder-bag with suction that the uninvolved cleaning lady pushes around the midnight office, making insignificant designs in the carpet while pretending she’s somewhere else. No. I’m talking about the thing with three distinct characteristics, none of which can be mastered individually, all of which must be coped with simultaneously: oh, it’s just too, too much.

For those who can’t control their garden hose, hurrying and dragging it along until it bends, muddy and heavy, into a meandering fold that peters out the rest of the water and forces you to retrace your steps and go back and untangle it, and then it spins and splashes and rises up and nips you with a metallic snush of water that jumps with a coiled spring out of your hands and right into your face … for those people, the electrical cord is anathema.

And for those of you who’ve ever despaired of dragging a heavy, bundled-in-a-snow-suit-against-the-outdoor-mall-cold two-year-old through a furniture store, thumping and kicking and knocking against the legs of chairs and tables you can’t afford to nick, you know what it’s doing behind your back as it catches on the corner and holds back, roars and wails and whines as you pull it by its spindly arm and then it just sits there, snugly, stolidly on its rounded bottom … and cries that it won’t go any further across the carpet unless you go back and pick it up and move it yourself … that’s the delightful experience that you get with the body of the vacuum.

And then there’s the long tube, just long enough to bump and knock things over and just short enough so you can’t really get all the way under things and when you reach for just that last spider web way over there in the corner, why of course the plug is pulled from the wall and you have to uncrouch and re-dedicate yourself to the job as you march, stoic, back to the socket.

Talk about discipline. Suffice it to say that everybody else in the neighborhood may have been lounging and cavorting, but I did the wash.

You can call me Ray.

You can call me Ray.

You know what they say will come out tomorrow. πŸ”