By June Mathews
I hate to mop. In fact, I hate anything having to do with cleaning floors.
So while I manage to do a passable imitation of someone who keeps a decent house (but not spotless by a long shot, mind you), I’ve lately failed miserably in the floor-cleaning department. Right now, I believe my kitchen floor is dirtier than it’s ever been, and the hardwoods, well, I can hardly stand to think about the work it’s going to take to get them even halfway presentable again.
But if possible, I hate to vacuum even more than I hate to mop, a loathing directly attributable to my mother. You see, it was my job during my teen years to do the vacuuming each Saturday, and Mama decreed the onerous chore had to be done before I could peacefully curl up with a book or go anywhere with my friends.
It didn’t help matters that the vacuum cleaner I had to use was one of the most cumbersome inventions ever known to mankind. Except for that ugly brown Filter Queen canister model, my weekends would have been perfect. As it was, I had to drag the clunky contraption all over the house, sucking up every piece of carpet trash visible to the naked eye and more, before I could have any fun.
Which reminds me of the Saturday morning my friend, Susie, stopped by, wanting me to go somewhere with her – I can’t remember where – and the vacuuming hadn’t been done. And for some reason, probably because company was coming, Mama was additionally insisting that my room be cleaned that day.
She usually didn’t get too wound up about the state of my brothers’ and my rooms. The upper story of the house consisted only of our three bedrooms and one shared bathroom, and she mainly coped with the disarray simply by avoiding it. But whenever company was coming, the whole house came under scrutiny, and everybody’s room had to be cleaned.
Well, Susie must have badly wanted me to go with her wherever she was going because she offered to do the vacuuming while I cleaned my room. Chores thus divided, we could be on our way in half the time, so Susie cranked up the Filter Queen while I headed upstairs.
Enter Zero, the yapping Chihuahua mix, who loathed that old vacuum cleaner as much as I did, and he proceeded to bark at it and chase it (and Susie) all over the living room. It didn’t take long for Susie, who was never that fond of Zero in the first place, to get fed up enough to chase him back.
Now I wasn’t in the room and thus can’t attest to what happened next from an eyewitness point of view, but it seems Zero came perilously close having his tail sucked into that canister. Frightened half out of his wits, he retreated to another part of the house, never to chase a vacuum cleaner again.
From then on, however, he understandably disliked Susie with an intensity that must have been an overwhelming emotion for such a small creature to bear. But I guess if I’d nearly lost my tail to a vacuum cleaner she was operating, I wouldn’t much like her either.
Right now, though, thinking of all the floor-cleaning awaiting me today is generating some pretty intense feelings of my own, although they’re more in the lines of feeling sorry for myself. I’d call Susie to come help, but I’ve got two Chihuahuas whose tails I’d rather not endanger.
I guess I could do the vacuuming, though. I wonder how Susie feels about mopping?
Email June Mathews at firstname.lastname@example.org.