Jacob loves to vacuum. It’s a hobby that fits well with his obsessive need to dispose of “trash,” no matter how microscopic it may be. A thread. An eyelash. One lint molecule. On the mornings that he’s home, at some point he will inevitably stand in the living room and announce that he needs the vacuum cleaner. George and I usually can’t see any reason why, but it’s good exercise for Jacob and makes him happy. Sometimes for hours.
We usually give him the small cannister-type vacuum cleaner. It’s the most maneuverable and least likely to mar furniture or knock Jacob off balance. We don’t put any of the various brushes or nozzles on the end of the hose attachment. He just places the open hose on each bit of dust or fuzz or microbe and sucks those babies into oblivion.
A couple of weeks ago, though, George happened to glance Jacob’s way just in time to see him placing the end of the hose on his tongue.
“What are you doing?!”
“I had something on my tongue.”
“Well, go rinse your mouth then. But don’t place that nasty vacuum hose on your tongue. You’ll make yourself sick.”
“It’s okay. Just please don’t do that again.”
As usual, this morning Jacob announced his need for the vacuum cleaner. George inspected the rug and agreed that, yes, there were two tiny foreign objects there. So he got out the cannister vac and plugged her in.
We’re used to the music of the vacuum cleaner around here. It’s one of the common sound tracks of our lives, and we tend to lose track of time when it’s playing. As Jacob worked his way around the room with his hose, George took the phone outside to call his dad and water flowerbeds. I went about my usual morning routine of checking blogs, working the crossword puzzle, etc. After a while, though, I realized Jacob had probably been at it for almost an hour. Plenty of time to eliminate the offending atoms of fuzz. I looked into the living room just as Jacob stuck the hose against his nostril!
“What are you doing?!”
“Do you have something in your nose?”
We went through the basics on why vacuum cleaner hoses aren’t considered one of the better methods of hygiene again, and then I quickly surveyed his work, declared the rug spotless, and stashed the vacuum cleaner back in the closet.
I guess we’ll have to pay more attention in the future. Meanwhile, one thing’s for sure. If you think you lost something at my house, you’re on your own digging through the contents of that vacuum cleaner bag.