Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Expat tip: How to Hoover* in 6 simple steps

1. Get hoover vacuum from cupboard, hang up all the coats you knocked down in the process. Realize that your are missing the head attachment. Dig in cupboard again. Find attachment and affix to machine. Repeat hanging up coats since you've knocked them off their hangers once more.

2. Plug hoover into a wall socket. Realize that the cord hanging from the huge plug head makes it too large to fit in the electrical outlet close to the floor. Find outlet higher on the wall behind the bed. Crawl on hands and knees behind said bed to connect plug. Realize the cord is too short to clean the whole room. Decide you only wanted to clean up around the outlet anyway.

3. Hold hoover attachment in hand and start machine with foot by pressing the one and only button. Notice an absence of activity. Press again, harder. Still no activity. Press button six or seven times in a row, using varying levels of pressure and an array of body parts. Start with your toe, progress to heel, thumb, elbow, etc. Look for another button, find none. Kick machine. Determine that power is not reaching the machine. Realize the switch beside the outlet is not flipped**. Climb behind bed again while still holding head attachment in one hand and flip switch with the other. Scream when head attachment roars to life and starts sucking at your face.

4. Hoover floor by passing head attachment over tiny clumps of floor-bound detritus. Notice no change to said detritus or to floor. Pass over again. Immediately assume you are doing something wrong. Rotate attachment head. Pass over floor again. Notice, if anything, the increase of detritus on the floor.   Begin fuming internally. Think to yourself that the machine is shite. Chuckle to self that you used the term shite in your head. Make several more passes over floor with alternating speed. Realize that when pulled toward you very slowly, head attachment picks up nearly 50% of floor-bound detritus. Rejoice. Unplug.

5. Return hoover to cupboard. Hang up all the coats you knocked down in the process. Sigh with frustration at how many times you have returned the same coats to their hangers. Realize that you lack a peacoat. Make note to look for one next time you're out shopping.

6. Inspect hoovered floor. Realize it looks no better than it did before step 1.  Resolve to live with dirty floors. Pour yourself a drink.

  * In the UK, the term hoover has become a generic term to refer to any vacuum cleaner, and to the act of vacuuming. See more on this fascinating topic, here.
** Electric sockets in the UK have on/off switches. For those of you who can not picture what I mean, here is a photographic example.

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