photo: Randy Robertson on flickr

What’s your relationship to perfection?!

Do you constantly strive to achieve it in every area of your life? Or do you thumb your nose at such an archaic and unrealistic concept?

Either way, this post is for you!

I recently shared a story about a 93-year-old man and what he taught me about perfection.

Now it’s time to share another story. A story that must be told.

I start with a disclaimer:

If you have a problem with human-vacuum cleaner relationships, stop reading right now!

For the rest of you, I’d like to take you on a little journey:

Prepare to be shocked! Prepare to be amazed! Prepare to be challenged!

Prepare to achieve complete and total enlightenment by the time you finish reading this post!

photo: Kelsey_lovefusionphoto on flickr

Okay, that last claim was a little exaggerated. What can I say? I’m a Dyson owner.

(Did I just say that? Yes, I did. Why would I do that? You’ll find out soon enough.)

Our journey begins approximately one year ago. That was when Melissa sent me an email about a great deal to be had on a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Only $185. For one day only!

Normally I don’t fall for these claims. But this was a Dyson. For only 185 dollars.

I’d been wanting a Dyson since I first saw their ads on TV, the ones with the owner of the company explaining how he revolutionized the vacuum cleaner industry with his brave, new machine.

I’m pretty sure I started salivating when I first saw that ad. How could I not?! The machine looked totally freaking awesome.

So when Melissa sent me the amazing, incredible, one-day-only deal, I caved.

I pulled out my credit card and ordered a Dyson. Our vacuum cleaner at the time (which I won’t name, except to say it rhymes with Zoover) made more noise than an airplane coming in for a landing.

You know those guys who wear protective headgear to help airplanes taxi into the gate? When it came to my, um, Zoover, I was one of those guys.

In other words, I had a reason to order my Dyson. I needed a new vacuuming experience. One that was bright and shiny and blessed with the serious sucking capacity of the Dyson.

If only I knew how accurate I was.

When my Dyson first arrived, I could barely contain my glee. I assembled that baby and took her for a spin.

All was going great. At first.

She zipped around the house, sucking up dirt left and right. I was in heaven.

In fact, I started composing a blog post about it on the spot. My Dyson was a mean, lean, dirt-fighting machine. Why wouldn’t I want to sing her praises over the internet?

I’ll tell you why.

Because after about five minutes, my sweet little Dyson started making a noise. A really, really bad noise.

It sounded like a cross between a screaming leaf blower and a chimpanzee in heat. Or maybe it was a screaming chimpanzee and a leaf blower in heat.

photo: Afrika Force on flickr

Whatever it was, it was terrible.

Actually, as I was to find out at the vacuum repair shop, she sounded like a Dyson.

To be more specific, she sounded like this particular brand of Dyson. The vacuum guy had seen it before. And he said he couldn’t repair it.

So even though the machine was under warranty, I was going to need to send it back to the factory and cross my fingers that the next machine didn’t make the same noise. Even though it probably would, because that’s what happened with the last people who brought this particular model to the shop.

My heart shrank in my chest.

My perfect, beloved Dyson was seriously flawed. How could I go on? I’d lost my faith in the exaggerated claims of the advertising industry.

Okay, my faith in the exaggerated claims of the advertising industry ended the day I realized that Sea Monkeys look nothing like the little creatures on the package. But still.

photo: Vincent X on flickr

We sent my seriously-flawed baby back to the factory and waited. Then we waited some more, because the paperwork got lost and I needed to call the factory in Illinois to remind them I needed a new baby.

Finally, months later, she arrived.

I pulled my new Dyson out of the box. She looked just like the old one. My heart skipped a beat. Was she going to make my dreams come true? Or was she going to crush them like a bug?

I plugged her in and off we went. Zooming around the house, to and fro.

There was a faint, high-pitched whining I wasn’t crazy about. And I discovered that, under very specific circumstances – like vacuuming throw rugs or pushing into tight corners – my baby made the chimp/leaf blower noise.

In other words, she was still flawed.

But she sucked up dirt like nobody’s business, and she was still a lot quieter than the Zoover. As long as I didn’t push her into a corner.

(And if I learned nothing from Dirty Dancing, it’s that one should never, under any circumstances, push baby into a corner.)

In the end, I realized that my relationship with my Dyson is like any other relationship:

It started with high, unrealistic expectations. When these expectations were smashed, there was a period of bitterness and woe. But once I got past my disappointment, I saw that my Dyson is like anything else: perfectly imperfect.

That’s right – my baby isn’t perfect. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love her anyway. Indeed, her little quirks and foibles are part of her charm.

Sure, I sometimes yearn for the perfect vacuum cleaner I saw in those ads years ago. But that machine doesn’t exist.

What I have is my Dyson. In all her flaws and glories. She’s my baby and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

Although the guy at the vacuum store made a good case for an Oreck.

But that’s a story for another day. Hopefully not-too-soon-a-day.

For now it’s me and my high-whining, occasionally-screeching baby.

At least I didn’t spend $185 on Sea Monkeys.

What have your appliances taught you about life? How have their imperfections changed you?

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