Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Vacuum Epiphany

For 30 years of my life I’ve loathed vacuuming. 

Technically I shouldn’t count the years before I could walk, talk, or you know, understand the concept of vacuuming, but the hatred I harbored in the comprehending years more than made up for it. 

I don’t know what it was that spawned so much disdain.  ( I’m a clean person, I swear.Maybe it started because it was one of my almost daily chores as a child, though that certainly didn’t ruin dishwashing for me.  Maybe it was the years I spent as a waitress at a local restaurant where it took at least 15 minutes to vacuum up the fries and chew spittle at night.  For most of my life I’ve attributed my hatred of vacuuming to an inherent aversion to either floor chores or physical exercise itself.

So I avoided it.  At the last townhouse I lived with a roommate—hold your dinners people if you vulnerable to queasiness—I vacuumed probably three times in two years.  It disgusted to me sit on the floor, look at it, or even think about it, but I wouldn’t bother to vacuum. 

For one, it seemed pointless.  It never seemed to get clean, and like all the other vacuums in my life, I believed the one available at the time was more likely to start on fire than suck up the dirt and grossness.

At my new apartment though where I was finally reunited with my cat I realized I had to do the unthinkable: buy, and potentially use, a vacuum.  The cat fur was rolling through the place like tumbleweeds in the Wild West before the end of the first week.

So I bought a vacuum.  And realized everything I’d believed about vacuuming in the previous decades had been wrong.

I found I enjoyed it.

It was easy, and best of all, the results were clear.  The carpet looked as if it’d been fluffed, but best of all I could see all it had picked up.  At work I thought about it, even looked forward to it.

And realized that all along what I had hated wasn’t the practice or concept of it.  The equipment I had been using was consistently ineffective; choosing the right tool made all the difference.

I should’ve known that, because it’s clear in diabetes care that choice in supplies matters significantly.  I feel I’ve never recovered from my insurance company’s decision to stop carrying a small portable meter and rarely take the new one with me as a result.  The #AccessMatters / #MyPumpMyChoice debate this spring hit home because even though I don’t use a pump, I completely understand how access to the right tools for each individual determines attitude and practice towards proper care.

It’s not just a piece of equipment.  It’s an experience, reinforcement or recreation of a mindset.  

Tools, it seems, change everything.