My parents used to have the nicest vacuum cleaner.
It was small and light, quite delightful to hold and use. It wasn’t too loud for my ears to handle either. It was from before disposable vacuum bags were widely being used and we only had to open up the panel on the front to empty the reusable vacuum bag. Very simple and pleasing.
I loved using that vacuum cleaner. I would make neat patterns on the carpet by running the vacuum back and forth. I particularly enjoyed making even rows of dark and light triangles. The vacuum was friendly and made lovely patterns.
Then, when I was nearly in high school, my parents got a new vacuum. It was large, heavy, loud, stern, and powerful enough to destroy its own power cord if someone happened to run the vacuum over it.
I was terrified by that thought. This vacuum cleaner was clearly a cannibal that apparently *wouldn’t think twice about violently eating parts of itself if it ever had the chance.
So, from that point on, I refused to vacuum the house unless I was using the old, friendly vacuum cleaner, which eventually disappeared. Thereafter, I refused to vacuum the house at all. Ever.
My stance led to parental conflicts and me getting sent to my room, where I could at least read in relative peace.
And in all the time since then, I have never been able to comfortably use vacuum cleaners that are similar in noise level, build, and power as that one my parents got so many years ago.
Trigger warning: self-harm.
*Despite my lifelong propensity towards picking at and eating bits of my own skin as well as having lived through a time when I engaged in significantly more severe forms of self-harm, I didn’t see the irony in this until just now.