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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Funny, You Don’t Look Like the Lady of the House…

Always bet on blog.

My wife and I demo’ed a vacuum cleaner over the weekend. (Or ‘sweeper’, if you’re one of those people who go around saying that sort of thing. You know who you are.) And we learned about the lean mean cleanin’ machine from an in-home salesman, if you can believe that. Really. Scout’s honor.

I didn’t even know those folks still existed — I thought that the ‘vacuum salesman house call’ went the way of the dinosaur back in the fifties or so. Who knew that people still wander around with their little sucking machines, trying to pawn them off on invalid grandmas and bored homemakers? Maybe it’s only in our neighborhood, for all I know. We just moved into our house a couple of months ago; maybe this is the Town That Time Forgot. Hey, it might be cool — we’ll have the milkman come by a couple of times a week, and get the mail delivered by Pony Express. Hmmm. Come to think of it, maybe it already is — that would explain why it takes three weeks to get a damned letter around here. Not to mention the enormous pile of horse shit that magically appears on the lawn every time the mail runs. And all along I thought the mail dude was just getting me back for hooking the mailbox up to my car battery. Hee.

Okay, gotta focus here. Vacuum cleaners. Deep breath, in and out. Okay, here we go.

So, I suppose I can’t really call the happy Hoover man that called on us a ‘door-to-door’ salesman, since he made an appointment with us before showing up.

(Come to think of it, I can’t really call him a ‘Hoover man’, either, since that wasn’t his particular brand of suckers.

(Apparently, we were his brand of suckers, because we sat through his whole spiel. Of course, we were thinking of buying a new vacuum cleaner; our current one — which is a Hoover, as it happens — looks like it was manufactured sometime during the Eisenhower administration. Which also applies to how well the godforsaken thing works. I would swear that the damned piece of garbage is powered by three-legged hamsters unsteadily hippity-hopping around a lopsided exercise wheel inside the thing. Well, except that hamsters could never make that much noise, without the aid of a megaphone and a three-speed blender. But the hamsters would explain the aroma that the thing emits sometimes — it smells like a stray mangy cat being barbecued over a tire fire. Or, um, so I’ve heard. You know, from people who might know. Not that I would, of course. That’s sick.)

(Everybody knows you need mesquite for a good cat roast. Plus, the rubber fumes would make the meat all tough and stringy. Er, or so I would imagine. Perhaps it’s time to get back to the story.)

So, anyway, this guy showed up at our door with three boxes o’ crap to demonstrate for us. And to clean our couches, though of course, the order and importance of those two activities were reversed in the initial phone conversation with his company. That call went something like this:

We, like, picked up the phone, and then we were like, ‘Yo, hello??’

And this voice answered, and they were all, ‘How’d you like your couches cleaned for free?

And we were all, ‘Well, yah! Duh, dude.

And they were all like, ‘Okay, dudes. We’ll send a guy over this weekend.

And we’re like, ‘Okay!

So then they were all, ‘Oh, just one thing. Our dude’s gonna demonstrate our cleaning stuff while he’s there.

And so we were like, ‘Oh, dude, bummer.

And they were like, ‘No, dudes, it’s excellent. It’ll rock, no doubt.

And we were like, ‘Well. All right, dude. We’ll give it a shot. But it better not suck. Hey, suck! ‘Cause it’s a vacuum! Duuude!

So of course, they’re like, ‘Yah, dude. We get that all the time. It’s sorta lame, all right?

And so we were all, ‘Yah, all right, man. Don’t get all touchy, dude. Party on, man.

And then, we like hung up. It was cool!

Um, yes, well then. That’s the last time I hire ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Re-enactments‘ to help out around here. Damn. I’d have gotten a better job out of Elmer frickin’ Fudd. Bozos.

Anyway, you get the general idea of the conversation. Not a hell of a lot else, but hopefully the gist manages to eke through. So, based on some loose approximation of what you’ve just suffered through, we made the appointment. Or rather, my wife made the appointment. And actually, it turned out not to be the appointment, but just an appointment. (God damn, it’s hard to be precise about my life! Or the parts that I don’t make up, at least.)

You see, I couldn’t make the appointment because the vacuum people wanted no part of me. None. Now, if you’ve been paying attention these past few weeks, you’ll know that I’m in between jobs at the moment, which means that I’m at home much of the time during the day. And apparently, that’s when the carpet-sucker salespeople like to call. Normally, I wouldn’t answer the phone, of course — the signal-to-idiot ratio is far too high before about eight pm — but for a couple of weeks there I took all of the calls that I could get to. I was hoping it was some company, calling to offer me an interview, or a job, or at least a free mouse pad. And, of course, I was wrong, dead wrong, and just damned delusional. Sitting on your ass at home and talking to the dog all day will do that to you, you know.

So for a while there, I talked to a lot of telemarketers. I think I may have mentioned a few of my experiences with them. But most of them would at least talk to me, so I could scream at them properly and waggle a disapproving finger at them over the phone.

(They hate the waggle. Drives ’em crazy.)

But the lady who turned out to be the ‘in-home vacuum cleaner demonstration scheduling technician’ (Fit that on a business card, bitches! Yeah!) wouldn’t give me the time of day. She’d call, and I’d answer. She’d ask for my wife. I’d say ‘She’s not here right now‘ (or ‘She’s busy churning butter‘ or ‘She had Mexican food for lunch, so you won’t be able to reach her for a couple of hours‘, depending on my mood), and offer to take a message. I’d then be rebuffed with a ‘No, I’ll call back‘ each and every time. When the lady was feeling ‘chatty’, she’d ask me if I could think of a good time for her to call. Again, depending on how frisky I was feeling, I’d either honestly try to think of a time, or I’d just say, ‘You know, it’s pretty rare for her to not be here at four in the morning. So that might be a good bet.

But under no circumstances would the lady ever, ever, ever tell me who she was or what she wanted. I was actually beginning to wonder whether my wife was working some lesbian action on the side or something. I mean, if a guy had called for six days straight and been all coy like that, I’d have become a little wary. And sure, my wife has never given any indication that her door would even begin to know how to swing both ways, but at least the thought made my mini-conversations with this mystery lady a bit more interesting. She’s probably still wondering why I started asking her, ‘So, what are you wearing right now?‘ and ‘Don’t you miss all the body hair? Just a little bit?

Anyway, after about a week of trying, this person finally hit the jackpot and called when my wife was home. I’m sure she was quite happy when I said ‘Sure, just a minute‘ and actually handed the phone to my wife.

(Before that, I’d tried putting the receiver next to the dog’s mouth. I thought maybe I could fool the lady into saying more if she heard a female voice. Plus, I was betting that all the panting would get her going if she really was trying to score some sweaty snuggles with my wife. But all I got was hung up on, and a filthy, dog-licked phone. Do you have any idea where that tongue has been, people?)

So my wife set up an appointment for the couch cleaning. And the demonstration, but we weren’t really all that clear on that point at the time. So, a couple of days later, Joe Slick comes bounding up our stairs, ready to show us all the wonders of his handy-dandy, once-in-a-lifetime deal, step-right-up, don’t-be-shy, change-your-life-in-one-purchase vacuum extravaganza. This dude screamed ‘used car salesman’, from the top of his slicked-back receding-hairline head to his worn-but-newly-shined brown wingtips. He grinned a shit-eating grin, and chewed a shit-eating gum, and shook a shit-eating handshake. He came ready for the kill, and seeing ‘the husband’ (*gasp*) at the door barely fazed him. The bounce in his step and the greasy twinkle in his eye said that he was prepared for anything — this guy would pawn his mother’s dentures, and then pressure her into buying a half-ton of popcorn kernels. Selling was in his blood.

(As, apparently, was nicotine, cheap gin, and snake oil, but who’s keeping track, right?)

Sadly for him, though, there was one eventuality for which he had no answer: My wife wasn’t home.

See, thinking that we were really just getting our couches cleaned, or even primarily getting our couches cleaned, my wife scheduled the appointment for an early weekday evening, before she’d get home from work. Had we been correct in our assumption, that would have been well and good. Peachy, even. But Mr. Sells-a-lot had come with enough props for three dog and pony shows, with enough left over to make a nice Vietnamese dinner.

(Oh, I kid, I kid. I love Asian food. Cut me some slack.) And without the ‘lady of the house’ present, it was all for naught. I looked at him, and I could see that he was girding his loins for a two, maybe three hour vacuum clean-o-rama, complete with product demonstrations, client testimonials, and lame jokes. He looked at me, and he could see that if he spent more than twenty minutes in my house, I was going to hook the business end of his product to the back of his pants, and let it suck his ass right out the door. So we agreed that my wife should really be present for such an important display of his vacuum’s capabilities, and he high-tailed it the hell off my property. With only minimal coersion, and without me having to attach the business end of anything to the ass of his pants. Shame, really.

So, anyway, that was my first experience with the friendy vacuum man. It was another couple of days before the scheduling lady reached my wife again, and — after what I would have sworn sounded like phone sex — they coordinated a weekend date that my wife would be around for. And there was much rejoicing. (Yay!) But, given all that I’ve already put you through tonight, I think I’ll save the scintillating details of the actual demo for tomorrow. I think this post is long enough as it is, don’t you? (Don’t answer that, dammit. I know what I asked, and I know the answer, all right? I don’t need to hear it from you, too.)

So I’m off to bed, and I’ll finish this thrilling tale tomorrow. I know, I know, how will you make it through the night? So many questions left unanswered — is the vacuum actually any good? And will we get talked into buying one? Does the demo really take three hours, or does it just seem like it? Just what is the scheduling girl wearing? And more to the point, is she hot? Or a lesbian? Or, good gracious, a hot lesbian? My word!

All of these questions… erm, actually, only some of these questions, and more, dear readers, will be answered tomorrow. So until then, try to keep busy. Don’t get too anxious or overeager. This sucking machine story will unfold in good time. Have patience, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

(That’s ‘sucking machine’ story, by the way, not sucking ‘machine story’. Just in case there was any confusion about whether this story sucks or not. Because it doesn’t, all right? The ‘no sucking’ rule is in full effect, so I don’t wanna hear any rumblings to the contrary. Piss me off, and I’ll make the story even longer. And you know I can do it. Don’t make me go there.)

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Funny, You Don’t Look Like the Lady of the House…”

  1. fruitcake says:

    Fuck that was boring! Get a fucking life you knob! Not funny at all. Fuck off!

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