The Badger

February 5, 2017. 

Yesterday was one of those sunny winter days, just pushing 30 degrees, where you feel this gentle hope and the optimism to tackle things you’ve been putting off. Like vacuuming the car you took on tour back in November, parked in Chicago for the month of December and have been slowly emptying for the better part of January. I had taken my PA out of the trunk along with a handful of suitcases filled with cables, had put a box of CDs away and hauled in a bag of t-shirts. But the floor - for a few months the floor had been strewn with a mix of straw wrappers, gravel and Target receipts. 

I actually really like to vacuum, and even as a kid I loved taking out our Electrolux© and running it over the living room carpet. The sound of things flying up the hose was so satisfying, click, clickity click, and the occasional barrette or penny with it's accompanying racket added a certain thrill. And then the softness of the carpet after, how your feet left tracks in it like fresh snow. 

I pulled up to the car wash and immediately noticed the vacuum was a little pricey. Pretty much across the country car wash vacuums are universally priced at $1, and this one was boldly asking $1.50. It looked brand new, the corrugated hose was virtually unscathed and the paint barely registered a chip. I decided to spring for it, maybe subconsciously thinking the newness of this unit would equate to an unparalleled ability to suck up debris from my floor mats.  

How right I was.  

I started in on the front seats and everything went as expected. I noticed the nozzle was slightly askew and inflexible and this made it a little harder to control than I would have liked. But the suction was incredible, I mean, this thing could suck up a french fry from between the seat and the console no problem. Like Yoda said when referring to a young Luke Skywalker, the force is strong with this one.  

The back seat was a little more problematic because there was more clutter, but I had thoughtfully piled it up on the seats away from the floor. It wasn’t much, just a few old posters, some bags and this cute wool 

SCARF. The vacuum had caught the fringe and was sucking greedily at it, practically salivating at its catch. I grunted and wrested it free, a little ticked off at this monstrous thing with the misaligned suction tool. I mean, why don’t they just put it on right in the first place so you’re able to 

POSTER! While I was having my moment of regret and contemplation this thing had seized hold of a poster and it was making a sound like the squealing of a cantankerous raven. Squee, squee! WANT! WANT! It seemed to say. I pulled the poster free and started to vacuum the floor again, back to the satisfying sound of gravel flying up the hose. That was going well until 

JUTE! TWINE! Shit. I had forgotten that under my passenger seat was a 200-foot roll of twine that I had bought to tie rolled-up t-shirts. The creature had found the end and was slurping it up like an endless bowl of coarse spaghetti. It was about 30 feet in when I had the bright idea to wrap the string around the armrest while I tried to figure out what to do. Could it ingest the whole roll? It was certainly replaceable but not the best solution. Oh! I know - in my purse I have this tiny little swiss army knife with scissors that I use for knitting, I could 

Damn you, beast! While I was thinking, it had been furiously hissing and sucking away at the string and had somehow pulled it loose from the armrest and ingested another 20 feet or so. I had to admire the strength and tenacity of this thing, and if I had the luxury of naming it I’d like to call it the BADGER 2000. “Badger? Why would you call a vacuum The Badger? That’s dumb.” 

“You’ll see.”  

I wrapped the jute back around the armrest, jumped in the front seat, grabbed my purse and rooted around for this little pink knife. In the background the vacuum was hissing and tugging angrily, and when I finally found the knife, pulled out the tiny scissors and cut the cord it slurped up the end of it like a tetchy, famine-angered snake.  

But the crisis was averted, and I let out a sigh of relief.  

I climbed back into the back seat and returned to vacuuming the floor. After about 10 seconds it shut itself off, and I couldn’t help but wonder - did I really run out of time already? Or was this a bitter Hoover™ exacting some kind of revenge for a meal denied. Were those fries between the seats not enough to sate your hunger? What of the cap of that pen, the unidentified business card, the receipt from T.J. Maxx that I might still have needed to return something for store credit?  

Next time you stop to innocently vacuum out your car, take a good look at that cannister. Is it shiny, yellow and red, luring you in with the promise of military-grade suction?  

Because the Badger is hungry, and the badger will feed. 

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