While cleaning up my garage to move recently, I found a shop vac.
It was a big, robust fellow and I wasn’t certain where it had come from. Maybe contractors who did some renos five years back had forgotten it. It seemed like something a little large to overlook but it had been in my garage for half a decade and I’d never noticed it, so there you go.
If you own a big shop vac, go and vacuum your car. It’s amazing. You can just shove the nozzle under the seats and suck up things like grocery bags and banana peels and mittens. I was a vacuuming madwoman, because I knew I’d have to call my old contractor to give it back. I experience the same level of excitement when I have a dumpster in my driveway. Dumpsters are my jewelry, my roses.
A phone call to my ex cleared up the mystery. He’d purchased the vacuum, one of those hidden man-purchases much like I may have hidden evidence of my umpteenth pair of brown suede boots. He told me where he’d left a spare filter. I put the vacuum to great use as I prepped the house for sale, and then didn’t sell. I made the mistake of telling my colleague, David Booth, about my decision to stay put. He laughed and laughed and then gathered himself.
“Women,” he said, within earshot of his girlfriend, who was being sweet to me about the whole non-event.
“I swear, I will never understand this. How can you go to sell your house and then not sell your house?” he yelled, because Booth yells most things.
“It was just a decision I made when I had new information,” I patiently explained.
After getting everything fixed that was wrong with my house, I discovered I loved my house after all. Makes perfect sense. Except to Booth.
“This is exactly what confuses men!” he bellowed. “I remember a few years go, after an aggressive campaign by Acura, every single woman I ran into asked me if she should buy an Integra! It didn’t matter what kind of car they were shopping, the Integra was always in the mix!”
Booth uses a lot of exclamation points when he talks.
“It was always ‘Should I buy an Integra or a minivan? An Integra or a pickup?’ I mean, seriously, an Integra or a pickup! Are you kidding me?”
I asked what this had to do with me not selling my house.
“Just that I will never understand women! Integras are not pickup trucks! They’re not even remotely trucklike! I mean, if you decide to sell your house, well … you sell your house!”
I acknowledged that small, sporty cars are indeed not pickup trucks, but some people like a wide range of choices. Women people. Some days we like brown boots. Some we like Cobb salads. I can picture myself in both a small, sporty car and a pickup truck, though I know enough not to ask Booth for his opinion on anything except the salad.
“Maybe they wanted your opinion of Integras and pickup trucks,” I reasoned.
Booth is a valuable source of information on both.
“How can you be choosing between those two things?” he roared down the phone. “It’s like choosing between…..” — a pair of boots and a Cobb salad, he probably wanted to say, but his mind doesn’t work like that — “Oh, I don’t know what it’s like choosing between!”
“You two should come for dinner one night,” I said. “Now that I’ve decided to stay.”
I heard the phone clatter to the ground before it was rescued by a woman — long suffering — who understood why I didn’t sell my house.
“We’d love to,” she said.
Booth was barking in the background, though whether in frustration or laughter, I’m not sure.
Men and women are different.
But everybody loves a dumpster and a good shop vac.