Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Post-election Day Clean-up. Who Let That Fly In?

The primaries in Washington, DC are over and life is returning to normal. Well. Relatively speaking.

Elections make for tight living in an apartment when your work-from-home husband is a political consultant. My love of organization is often theoretical, but not after election day. Win or lose, all the glossy, paid-for-by-the-candidate campaign promises are promptly thrown out of my home. I figure I lost about 10 square feet of precious real estate to political literature and posters alone. And let’s not even talk about the two large political banners hanging from the roof blocking two of our son’s bedroom windows.

Okay. Let's talk about them.

The color scheme of one candidate is red and casts a bordello-like glow throughout my son's bedroom. This I like. But their eerie flapping haunts my son's sleep and gives him nightmares. Sometimes you have to take one for the team, I explain. I have. I love my upstairs views that are now blocked by the waving blues and reds of two carefully conceived political colors. Not unlike gangs, actually.

And I’m more than a bit concerned that my husband plans to leave the banners up until November. He reminds me that legally we don’t have to take them down until after the general election. Who said anything about violating municipal regulations? I'm talking about aesthetics. Feng shui. Did I accidently speak to him in Chinese? Is that the root of this misunderstanding?

I wish it were that simple.

But we're different animals. If possible, he would live in 77-degree, climate-controlled, muffled, shaded Man Cave. Not I. (Well, unless it's 98 degrees and humid. Then suddenly I'm banging at the Man Cave door.) Mostly though, I like living with the windows unobscured so that sites, sounds and smells of the city … er, let's just make that the sites and sounds ... fill the apartment. The iron fire escapes. The grinding gears of buses. The blue neon of Heller’s Bakery bouncing off the walls once evening comes. Over-modulated Latino music. Couples fighting in the alley. Drunks. Drunk couples. All of it. And on this beautiful late-summer, post-election day I open all the windows, which unfortunately, lets in a fly. Not good. My husband hates flies. When he sees one, his eyes go black. Like a shark. He says drastic things like, "I won't live like this," which only confuse me.

But I'm not without my own domestic idiosyncrasies. If my husband were allowed to comment here, he may speak of my my habit of taking the vacuum out of the living room closet only to abandon it in the middle of the room for a couple days before actually using it. Or not.

It's the type of vacuum that has a squat body from which grows a long, spiraling hose ending in a series of interchangeable attachments, an appendage used to ensnare anyone attempting to walk by. (I show my disdain of vacuuming by purposefully not knowing the specific model I own. Kind of like pretending to not know who Snooky is. Or is it Snookie?)

For a couple of days it sits by my dining room desk like a deprogrammed Japanese robot pet. The vacuum, I mean. Not Snooky/Snookie. If I were the psychoanalyzing type, I could possibly connect this behavior with procrastination and fear of completion. But I'm not. I'm the type that doesn't like to vacuum.

So, after a couple days of Vacuum silently tripping my family, I hear it whirr to life. The sound traveling into the kitchen is shocking. Whatthehellwasthat?? Then it dawns on me what has happened. My husband has plugged it in and has turned it on. “Wow,” I think. “With all his post-election work to do, he’s vacuuming? Probably needs to clear his head with a little physical work.” I’m smiling, nearly giddy, at this life development when suddenly it goes quiet and he yells from the living room, “Well, that’s one less fly in the world.”

Oh no he didn't.

After a few comic beats, I yell back, "You know ... in addition to hunting, that thing is also good for sucking up dirt! From that thing on the floor called a carpet!"

"Yes. I've heard that!" He parries with equal comic timing.

Then quiet.


Actually, I can't say, “men" here. After sharing this incident on Facebook, two women bragged about how many invertebrates they've spinelessly killed remotely at the end of a vacuum attachment. But as these women are both related to my husband, I blame genetics. Although, truth be told, their mechanical approach does seem much more effective than mine, which is to load my son’s Galactic Grabber with a wad of about twenty paper towels, close my eyes and punch aimlessly until the home invader disappears into a corner.

Still. I can’t imagine plugging in a vacuum for the purpose of sucking up a fly. It starts me wondering. Did he use an attachment? And if so, which one? The angled corner? Or perhaps the rounded brush? Did he wait as if perched in a deer stand? Or charge boldly with the hose flailing behind him? Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one. Well. No. Not a fly on the wall. Let's make that a dust bunny in a corner because obviously they weren't in danger of death by vacuum. They all survived unscathed.

I mean, really. What stopped him from attacking the warren of dust bunnies living only a foot from where he bagged his fly? Why not simply bend at the waist and suck up those crumbs from the night before? What? What am I missing? Single-mindedness? That alpha-male quality of not deviating from the task at hand? (I guess I am the type to psychoanalyze. The couch pictured below is Freud's. Not mine.)

And am I a typical multi-tasking female because while playing Go Fish or doing yoga, I also pick at the carpet like some over-attentive mother ape grooming her young? It's not easy holding a balanced Triangle Pose while scraping dried bits of yogurt off the carpet, something the instructional dvd would likely advise against. But I seem to manage.

Perhaps I'm over-thinking this. Maybe it has nothing do with the male and female brain and everything to do with my mother. (Now we're really getting our psychoanalytic dollar's worth.) After all, she was the one who invented Pick-A-Lint, a game where she unleashed her brood of seven on the floors giving a prize to the one who picked up the most detritus. Brilliant, really.

So many questions. But for now, Vacuum will go back into the closet. Yet again unused.

Unless you ask my husband.