After a long battle involving overwhelming odds, my 8 year old vacuum cleaner finally succumbed to clogged arteries, dust allergies, a slipped clutch, and two worn out fan belts, all blamed on inattention to detail, lack of service and indifference on the part of its handler.
Purchased not quite a decade ago to help combat the daily shedding of our Golden Retriever, at outrageous cost, the strange looking Purple Clad Dyson 'Animal Vac' lived up to it's advertising.
At $549 plus tax, it succeeded where it's countless $80 predecessors failed, sucking canisters of loose fur from carpets, corners, under refrigerators and cabinets, and even from black slacks and sweaters that attracted The Dog's fur like a magnet.
The fact that it finally went wheels up on a muggy, cloudy morning in South Carolina when it was scheduled to perform it's routine chores, I suppose, came as no surprise. Even the fanatical Japanese knew when 'enough was enough' after vainly sacrificing themselves against overwhelming odds.
At 95 degrees outside, and the air conditioning unit blowing hair around the
house, it was time to try to find one of America's lost artisans...the ubiquitous "Vacuum Cleaner Repairmen!"
Years ago Vacuum salesman used to come to the door and ring your bell. They were as common as the long disappeared US Post Man, the Milk Man, the Encyclopedia Salesman, the Baker and the Vegetable man, and in the time when there was no internet, they served thousands of bored housewives with what they were missing; human contact , interaction and (social) intercourse.
The fact that Vacuum people are a dying breed is an understatement; I had to drive over an hour to find the one listed in the Yellow pages who claimed he was an authorized Dyson repairperson, and 'tsked, tsked' over the phone when we confessed we had our machine for 8 years and had never had it 'serviced.'
Arriving at the emergency clinic we found an affable man, who upon viewing the victim, donned his hospital smock, and began gently probing
for the problem.
After a quick plug in, a run up of the motor, and the appropriate medical sniff of superiority he pronounced the diagnosis; slipped clutch, broken fan belts, (2), and probably cancer of the lungs due to severe lack of attention to recommended cleaning. Bottom line, about $150 in repairs, a delay for
repairs, and yet another 2 hour round trip to pick up the ailing patient.
With an excellent bedside manner considering we were discussing the wheezing demise of a trusted friend, not to mention indispensable tool, our Doctor, now acting as a Death Councilor, pointed out that the new Dyson 17, ours was a Dyson 7 (my how time flies) had TWO high speed motors, whilst our older model only had one, and the RPMs could be controlled by the push of a button to alternate speeds to 'really suck it up!"
At $449, the new model which he was discounting, really was a bargain, as after all, our trusty model, so outdated, and even after putting $150 in parts plus labor, would only be worth about $225 to account for depreciation, a fact which only enabled him to allow us $40 for a trade in.
Not wanting to make another round trip, and after taking a test drive with the new machine, I opted for the new model, after all, it was a Dyson and James' work, according to the brochure, can be seen in various Art Museums world wide.
I did concede the new yellow/orange body colour did fit better with our decor than the old Purple One, in less of a gay way you understand, and seemed to exude a more menacing persona worthy of conquering the waiting piles of canine fur.
I can attest, after the first field trial, Dyson 17 really does suck it up.
It's got so much suction it takes two to vacuum the oriental throw rugs, as one must hold the edges down with one's foot to prevent the entire rug from being sucked into the 'turbo' canister, whilst the other operates the machine.
I do have reservations, however, about a man made machine that will probably outlive my beloved Dog, who is now 9, and perhaps even myself, who is not getting any younger.
One more item to be classified and listed in the will as I face my own mortality.
Life really does suck.