The vacuum stopped working.I won’t go into detail but suffice it to say it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t even using it and I’m not judging, but I did feel some type of way when I heard it shut off.After all, it’s a Dyson and the commercials show that Dyson’s never shut down, never break. Right? Or maybe that was my high-expectation imagination.Anyway, I called the fabulous Dyson customer service people, who informed me that 1) their vacuums shut down when the motor overheats, I could leave it off for a while, and all should be well and 2) if all was not well, I could take it to a service center. The closest one was about a million miles away (maybe a slight exaggeration: she said it was in Tustin, which is about 50 miles away). When I mentioned the million-mile distance (I might have said ‘That’s really far!”), she said I could get it UPS’ed — all I needed to do was take down a service number, drag the injured machine to a UPS store, and the folks there would box, tag, and send. I’d get it back within 14 business days. It ws covered under warranty. Score!But …I am a tinkerer. My Christopher was a tinkerer. I could hear him suggesting that I could probably figure it out on my own.I agreed.Occasionally, between the other activities of life (like work), I glanced at the vacuum. I’d walk by it and plan how to operate.I took to it, following the instructions about which parts to check for clogs. I got monster hair (AKA fur from the two decent sized canines who make up the larger part of this pack) out from various places and thought I had it beat.Wrong.I called back to the fabulous Dyson customer service and was informed that there was a service center in Upland! Much less than a million miles! We set it up and I took off into the rainy Southern California day. I like driving in the rain, even though I occasionally scowl at my fellow road warriors who don’t understand that these highways do not work the same when they are wet. It was a great drive and I found the place with relative ease. Gave over my injured vacuum, filled out the service ticket and … what, huh? Four to six weeks for a warranty repair?Yeah, that’s what she said.I knew what the Dyson rep told me about the problem: there’s a valve or something that occasionally stops doing what it’s supposed to do. An easy fix. A part that, one would surmise, a vacuum hospital would have on-hand. Was the part made from a substance only available on three meteors in the Kuiper Belt? Why so long?Fast forward a couple hours.After returning home (I did leave it — so I wanted to try and let it play out … plus, if it got fixed quick, I’d be able to feel good about supporting a local-ish business. Don’t judge), I called Dyson customer service to give them an update. The rep told me I could pick it up before the repair shop did anything and still take it to UPS. I appreciated the option and told her I would think about it.Soon after, the phone rang. It was a nice gentleman from the repair shop, calling to say that the issue was a small stylus and a clog. As it turns out, a stylus has gotten lodged in there (obviously the cause of why I’d heard it stop working suddenly) and was holding the valve thing open. No warranty activation, less than a $20 and my Dyson was back in stride again. Score!On the way back to the shop, I saw the highway traffic had turned into a snarl, so I made the decision to take my alternate route home. Things went swimmingly (yep, rain joke) and on my way home I jumped off the other highway to wind my way on a back road through a residential neighborhood. I was beginning to grumble because there was a pickup in front of me that was going a bit slow. Suddenly, the driver hit the brakes and came to a stop.In the middle of the street.No turn signal, no nothing.The truck began to move slowly and I could see a dog in the street.It appeared to be a Bluetick Coonhound mix and it was afraid. I think it was a male, so let’s call him he.His head whipped from side to side as he danced the yellow line. I saw a young man on the opposite side of the road and thought maybe he was the dog’s owner. The man looked up for a moment as the traffic going in both directions slowed. He became quickly disinterested and went back to pawing at his mobile.The pickup made it past the dog and moved on. The dog approached my truck and I looked down at him. He was standing still, next to the yellow line. I pressed the horn a few times — the sudden noise typically causes strays to take off in the opposite direction, which in this case would have been the other side of the two-lane street.It didn’t work.He looked up at me then and I could feel the fear in his eyes.It seemed as though he didn’t know where he was or what was going on. I eased ahead and he held my gaze as I considered pulling over. Maybe I could coax him out of the street, I thought. But then what? It’s not like I can take him home.As I kept looking and driving slowly, I could see the white froth around his lips. Rabid!I watched from my rearview mirrors as he continued to weave near the yellow line and traffic continued to pass closely. I silently prayed that he would move to the side of the road and maybe find a quiet bit of brush away from the cars filled with parents on their way to pick up their children whose school day had ended, folks who had left the office early to avoid the heavier rainstorm that had been predicted for late afternoon, and people retrieving healed vacuums.I hoped the froth was fear. I mean, the corners of my lips get sticky if I mouth-breathe during a good fright. And he had those Coonhound jowls after all. A little time alone, laying on a bed of dry brush, time to get calm and rethink … he’d be okay, right?I lost sight of him but the fear in his eyes haunted me late into the evening.
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