shark attack

There are worse things to worry about in the world. You don’t need me to list them. Log-on to any newspaper, any day of the week, and see how long it is before you sigh, swipe, and check for the hundredth time that day if you’d had any likes on that picture of your dog in sunglasses.

And you don’t need me to tell you that life goes on, regardless. There’s no fairness to it. One person obsesses about ear hair, another gets batoned in a street riot. In the same street.

So – bearing that in mind – let me tell you about this terrible hoovering tragedy I suffered today.

It was all going so well. I’d pretty much finished downstairs and was ready to start the stairs. I like the hoover we’ve got. Of course, it’s not actually a hoover. Hoovers never are. This one’s got a much snappier name – the Shark. It’s sleek, snappy. An upright with more attachments than a Space Marine. I love it. I came to the bottom of the stairs with absolute confidence. Unsnapped the handheld carpet device. Decoupled the cylinder from the floor head. Began my ascent.

The cord is just long enough to let me reach the top step. Then I throw the tube forwards to act as a kind of anchor, balancing the cylinder well enough to let me go back downstairs, unplug and bring all the attachments upstairs to start the cleansing operation there.

This time, though, the cylinder was full of dust. And the thing about the Shark is – it’s bagless. Which I like. It means you can lift away the dust container, take it to the bin, flip a catch, and empty the whole thing. Thank you, Shark. I’ll do that.

Sidenote: Sometimes you get sudden, unexpected and terrifying insights into the chaos that underlies your life. Things you’ve taken for granted that turn out to be laden with hazard. Things you’ve done a hundred times safely that reveal themselves to have been fraught with danger the whole time. Like walking down the street and one day finding out it’s built over an abandoned tin mine (and the pavement is made of old biscuits).shark hoover

You see, the lift-away body of the Shark comprises two halves: the dust chamber and the body it snaps into. What I didn’t realise is that there’s a dust filter sitting inside the body. When the dust chamber is released and lifted away to be emptied, this dust filter sits loosely in the body. There’s nothing to hold it in. Nothing at all. So when I accidentally trod on the cable on my way back down the stairs, and the Shark body toppled over and crashed down the stairs after me, the dust filter was thrown clear, bouncing down on every stair, scattering explosions of dust everywhere, on the treads, the walls, the skirting boards….

I caught it at the bottom, in one final cloud of dust, covering me as completely as if I’d stood underneath a dust silo, given the thumbs-up, and someone somewhere pulled a chain.

There are worse things. Of course, at that moment, I couldn’t think what.