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I swear, I’m going to take this old piece of garbage and throw it off the roof. Yeah, I know, many of you who have met me on a plane know about my hate/hate relationship with my vacuum cleaner. And I used to swear that my vacuum and I would be together until my final days of living somewhere with four walls and a floor. But the more you and I engage in conversation, and the more you ask me about the editor before me and how her relationship is these days with her ?BlackBerry, and the more you ask me why I never write about a piece of my personal property that I hate like she hated her phone, the more I think about all the thingies in my life, and the more I realize that my old blue friend has turned into an adversary.
It wasn’t always this way. Back when my girlfriend’s mother bought it for her as a birthday present in 1999, it was a state-of-the-art vacuum. At least, it looked like it was because it had all sorts of attachments and hoses and it made a noise like a purring Bengal tiger. It didn’t used to be an “it” either. It was a beautiful maiden that I called the St. Louis Sleuth. Bought at a Sears in the Chesterfield Center mall in the ’Lou, the SLS was appropriately named because she found everything. Every Skittle. Every Rold Gold pretzel twist. Every dust bunny. One time, my buddy Pepper brought over a real bunny. The Sleuth wanted to pick her up, but she settled for a lock of Blossom’s fur instead. Then we got a shaggy cat named Sammy from the animal shelter. Sammy used to walk the mean streets of Granite City, Ill., before we saved him/her, and he/she (whatever gender my kitty was) brought all sorts of dirt and pine needles and discarded Jolly Ranchers into our St. Louis apartment. We lived on Delmar Boulevard because it was a hipster’s paradise.
Hipsters in those days always seemed to have a lollipop or a Jolly Rancher in their mouths. More than a few discarded suckers made their way into Sammy’s fur. After we carefully removed the candy, I’d take the reigns of the ol’ Sleuth, the vacuum that could find anything, and finish the job. She was a brave gal. I don’t know of any superheroes that had the sand to venture under those couch cushions. (Well, maybe Andrew Garfield would these days — see page 44.) My girlfriend didn’t even like to go into that room because of the spores and mold and Goldfish crumbs that were breeding in my couch. But the Sleuth would.
She followed me to New York years later, and my vacuum followed me too. We were a happy family in that 450-square-foot apartment. The Sleuth took up almost a quarter of the place because 1999 models weren’t built for convenience. But she and I had many fun times in the city. Come Christmas 2004, I went to a novelty store and had tiny stickers made of me in a Santa Claus hat.
I stuck one right on her nose. I think she smiled. I know my girlfriend did when she went to plug in the Sleuth and there was my likeness.
But then one day, the Sleuth went ahead and revolted. I don’t think she wanted to move to Dallas, because the second we got here, she started to growl. Her Bengal-tiger purr started to sound more like Pop Rocks candy in a meat grinder. A time came when I went to plug her in, and she just barely turned over. Now, as if challenging me to a never-ending duel, the St. Louis Slug (as I now call her) taunts me by turning on and only moving the dust and the Goldfish crumbs around. I think she’s making me develop allergies. So I decided to do something about it. I went out and got a vacuum that is tall and pretty. Her angles defy geometry, and her ability to not only find but to destroy filth and grime with reckless abandon reaffirms my faith in technology. In humanity. She is the ?Dynamo of Dirt, the Temptress of Trash, the Empress of Excess, the one and only Dallas ?Drossbuster, an absolutely stunning Dyson DC40 (turn to page 22 to see why she’s so awesome).
I’m a slave to nostalgia, and while I’ll miss the Sleuth on some level — much like some of you miss the commentary by my predecessor about her broken BlackBerry — I’ll no longer be complaining about my gadgets or household ?appliances in these pages. I hope.