What happened to vacuum cleaners?
I’m sure you’ve kept up with the times better than I have, but they now look like you could use them to fight dragons. With a charging unit and fleet of attachments, they require a room of their own.
Cliff and I have been through several over 40 years of marriage. An orange Kenmore in the disco 70s, followed by an emerald one in the late 80s when jewel tones were fashionable. Each one worked like a charm. Bags were easily replaceable. Attachments made sense.
But in St. Paul, vacuum change was in the air. We were forced to buy one that I never understood. It was a bagless, upright model that I struggled to push without acquiring a horse.
Attachments defied attaching. I finally taped the directions for emptying the basket to the side of it. The maneuver required a simultaneous twisting, pulling, and lifting that baffled my joints and memory.
I’d usually end up leaving the thing in the middle of the room, surrounded by dog hair.
Cliff took over until a backache convinced him to donate it to Goodwill. He replaced it with a neon yellow machine that I simply could not master, leaving tiny piles of dust across hardwood and carpet in my wake.
Point made, we began the search for something I could maneuver. I asked a friend who admitted she was terrified of new vacuums, too, and prayed for her old standby to last another 15 years.
Another friend said she left her husband in charge of buying one, but she is unable to work any of the attachments.
So I walked into Bed, Bath and Beyond and asked for help. A young clerk eagerly read labels aloud to me, exclaiming over statements about ease and intensity. “Oh!” she squealed. “This one is really pretty!”
I wasn’t looking for one that coordinated with my outfits. When my old-person’s practical questions puzzled her, she found the manager who whipped attachments through the air with the dexterity of a Benihana chef.
“This is our most popular. Would it work for you?” she asked, beaming.
“Only if it comes with an espresso attachment and you,” I replied.
Finally in the office of our insurance agent’s tidy space, I spoke up, Medicare supplements being beyond my understanding anyway. I presented my vacuum case, not because it was relevant, but because she was my age and seemed highly competent about the intricate New World.
I described my former Kenmores from Sears with all the nostalgia of summer picnics and lemonade. “I know what you mean,” she said and revealed her husband had just purchased a vacuum that excited him but mystified her.
“Go to the Sears store on Main Street in Norwalk. They’ll understand.”
Sears on Main Street. Who knew that remained possible. My first skates and bicycle came from a Sears on a Main Street.
The store manager identified with my dilemma about new vacuums that looked like weaponry. They carried those, too. Then he showed us something reliable and approachable–the updated version of my old Kenmore.
It won’t slay dragons.
No espresso attachment either.
But it works beautifully and easily.
And, by the way, it matches my new chair.