Last week, my friend Greg asked me to "pop into" Hammacher and Schlemmer to help him choose a hand-held vacuum. I knew immediately that we would not emerge from the store until well past my bedtime.
The last time Greg asked me to "pop into" a store it was to go to the White Sale at Marshall Fields. ( Never NEVER! go to a White Sale with a gay man. ) Five hours after we arrived, I was rudely
awakened from a nap on one of the display beds and promptly fined for leaving a drool stain on the
As we stood outside Hammacher and Schlemmer, I made a heroic attempt to navigate away from a black hole threatening to suck us into a cold world of affluence and gadgetry. "I think Dust Busters are on sale at Sears," I said weakly.
Greg looked at me as if I was mad and slapped me upside my head. ( Never — NEVER! — mention Sears to a gay man. ) He dragged me inside and we marched to a display of hand-held vacuums that looked like they were designed by I.M. Pei.
As Greg and the salesman ( another gay man — big surprise! ) merrily debated whether one of the model colors was puce or aubergine, I wandered over to a small, gray, disk-like object called the RoboSweeper. Out of sheer boredom, I watched an infomercial about the device. The video showed it floating above floor surfaces like a low-flying saucer, sucking up debris and terrorizing pets, all while its human owner relaxed on a couch, sipping coffee and watching a soap opera.
When the video was done, I pressed play and watched it again. Every time the RoboSweeper appeared on screen, I felt the same tingling sensation I get when I see Catherine Deneuve moisten her lips. I soon realized I was in love with the RoboSweeper. It had everything I was looking for in a
relationship. It was sleek,
self-sufficient, and if it got on my nerves I could simply remove its batteries. And, best of all, it would clean without judging me.
The RoboSweeper entered my life when I was still smarting from an argument with my Lady Friend. My Lady Friend has a huge stable of vacuum cleaners, and they serve her like those evil monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. They follow my every move, bumping at my feet and
daring me to spill on the precious area rugs.
Last weekend, after my Lady Friend sicced one of her most
powerful vacuums on me after an unfortunate
incident involving chopsticks, I blew up.
"I'm so sick of this bourgeois bullshit," I yelled. ( I find it helpful to use words of
revolution in any domestic dispute. )
"I see the proletariat is finally
rising up," she said, before ordering her gang of Hoover thugs to chase me out of the house.
As I stroked the RoboSweeper's smooth belly and fantasized about our peaceful, crumb-free union, I thought about what sweet irony it would be when I announce to My Lady Friend that I am leaving her for a vacuum cleanerthe very tool of her oppressive regime. Just then, Greg appeared at my side.
"I want you to meet my new girlfriend," I said, as a loving mist filled my eyes.
He lifted the RoboSweeper and examined it closely. "Does it come in any other colors?"
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