Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 6...If I can't hear it, how do I know it's really working?

I work at an art gallery downtown here in Northampton. It's a well respected and well stocked gallery full of Baskins, Deihl's, Gilespies, Seusses, Nimoys, et al. It's a place visited by thousands of people all throughout the year. More people than I would expect. And this is nice.

And like a 4 hour Vivid video compilation, it gets dirty really fast.

I'm in charge of reversing that process.

I do maintenance and generally keep the joint as clean as an almost 100 year old former bank can be. I call myself a "structural conservationist."

Basically, I take out the trash.

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of going to the hardware store and buying a new vacuum cleaner.

From my days of watching old movies and TV shows, I long for a time that I was not part of. A time when a man in a suit and fedora would knock on the door, the lady of the house would answer, and said man would promptly empty an ashtray on her carpet in preparation for a demonstration that she and he hoped very much would be a success. Apparently it was such a common practice that it was lampooned by everyone from I Love Lucy, to the Three Stooges, to Abbot and Costello. You just don't see it anymore because we now do not let anyone in our houses we are not familiar with in. Certainly not for that kind of rhubarb.

Today we just go to the hardware store and buy it off the shelf.

So, I picked it out like a new thoroughbred puppy who hasn't yet chewed on the furniture, I put it in the trunk the car I had been shuttled over in and I assembled it.

I brought it upstairs and turned it on.

And I was in 7th heaven.

The power I felt I commanded as the new, red, "whisper quiet" vacuum eradicated the dust and rock salt was intoxicating. My job was made easier, the gallery was cleaner and I was oh so happy.

The thing I noticed was that it wasn't just the visual of the floor returning to a less altered state, it was the sound.

The "clack, brrr, clack, whack-whack-whack, brrr, clack" of the rock salt and other detritus whizzing past the spinning brush roller and up the Rube Goldberg style series of tubes and columns made it all the more menacing. All the more effective. All the easier to believe.

It was louder than the machine itself.

I put it back in my office (read: closet) and went to get a tea.

I saw a friend in town.

She told me I looked great. She said my skin and most notably my eyes looked healthier and more alive. In a word, cleaner.

I know it's only been 12 days since "operation reverse fuck up" began but it was nice to hear. I can see it in the mirror. I can feel it from my head right down to my feet and on the most outer reaches of my skin. I know I'm getting cleaner. I know abstinence is the right, and only path to take.

But until you can hear it from someone who doesn't see through your eyes, it's tough to tell if it's really working.

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