You know you’re an aging rocker when your date book’s got more doctor’s appointments than gigs.
I returned my year and a half old vacuum cleaner to the store yesterday because it made a loud noise whenever I turned it on. I remember my mom had a Hover rolled into the den from the door to door salesman who gave a very convincing demonstration on our shag carpet. With its galvanized headlight, built like a locomotive coming down the tracks, full force steel sturdy enough to last 35 years, heck-outlast a lifetime.
But these days, they’re manufactured in plastic toy colors that fail one week after the warrantee expires.
I’m getting used to returning my broke down vacuum cleaners; I don’t even NEED a manual to assemble the new one.
I was cleaning my home last night, not the kind of cleaning like, “Oh, found the other sock?” No, this was more, “Oh, what’s that?” Horror. As I inhaled the fumes steaming from my sponge each time I rinsed off the stove grime, I thought, “Hmm, maybe the reason I haven’t gotten a chronic illness…yet and I whispered, “yet,” humbly, is because I don’t like to clean and therefore, don’t. I began to deduce how all those chemicals must take a toll on your body; which reminded me of the time I worked on the maintenance crew at The Boca Raton Hotel and Resort in West Palm Beach.
We painted a lot of rooms in there and one day they herded us into a suite on the top floor. “Wow, finally, we’re getting the VIP treatment; but I’m not really dressed for it. Oh, who cares-that red couch looks so comfy.”
No sooner had I sunk into it, when my supervisor handed each of us sacks. “This is getting even better.” I shoved my hand in to feel an aerosol spray nozzle and steel wool pads; not exactly the trendy gift bag I was expecting. Then he instructed us to grab a bucket with the largest sponge I’ve ever seen on the bottom.
“Thank you,” snarling as I took my pail. Did I mention that the hotel maintenance foreman smoked a pipe that left a scented trail of strawberry car freshener wherever he roamed room by room.
He led us drones into the master bathroom, promising that “this is where the magic begins”. I did not believe him, but reluctantly crouched, spritzed and scrubbed the Ammonia mist. A switch must have gone off in me because all of the sudden I broadcasted, “This stinks; it burns when I breath in.” I believe someone from under the sink counter suggested I not breathe. “Yeah, that’s a solution, good idea.”
In yet another attempt to rally the crew to mutiny, I escalated my protest, but no one joined in. Which only fed my outrage as I soldiered on thinking how this mildew was a job for The Hasmat Team.
I griped, “Surely there’s a protective mask in a closet for me to wear; the boss is not really helping us.”
No one flinched, not a peep from the laborers, if you don’t count me.
A half hour later, I mumbled to myself, ”What’s the big deal, just do it-they hired you to do a job; maybe not what you expected or bargained for but, you’re not the one in charge.”
My mom used to say, “You know Jill, sometimes you just got to do things you don’t want to do.” but I figured out a long time ago, that they only tell you that when they want you to do things they want you to do.
There, I’ve said it.
I fled that stinking suite on the 23rd floor of the Boca Raton Hotel and didn’t even wait for the foam to bubble up and scour the tile clean, and I still don’t.
There are moments in life when you don’t want to make a decision but do it anyway, and those are the moments that define you.