A member of my extended family – really, my husband’s family – posted to Facebook yesterday asking for recommendations on vacuum cleaners. Her much-loved vacuum of nearly TEN YEARS had died, and she wondered what she should buy to replace it.
Did you notice how I distanced myself from her? She’s a good person, raising very lovely children competent, talented, self-sufficient. More than a good person – one could even say she is admirable. She’s VERY MUCH like her mother-in-law (my sister-in-law) was at that age. Every thing is in stark black and white. There is no gray. And she knows everything. And is willing to fight you on it. That was tiresome when it was my sister-in-law and it is tiresome now. It impacts how I feel about her – hence the distancing – because I find it exhausting to have such negative passion directed at me and others.
(As a little side note, I actually get along very well these days with my sister-in-law. Yes, the one who said some fairly horrid things about me and who I used to call “the bitch”. I used to be very black and white also. Might be an age thing? But we both figured out that peace in the family was more important than making the other person acknowledge we were right and they were wrong. We excel at side-stepping the many areas where the pit-of-disagreement yawns between us. We even have fun together now. 🙂 )
Anyway, back to electing vacuum cleaners. It soon became apparent in the discussion that there were two major camps: The Shark Party and The Miele Party. The adherents were strong in their praise of the benefits of THEIR vacuum. They posted photos. They recited anecdotes of the cleaning power. It was very interesting. I almost wondered if I should have bought a Shark instead of my Miele, the discussion was so fervid and intense. There were even folk supporting the Dyson Animal and the Hoover. The conversation is still going today. I don’t feel distant from this conversation at all. I’m interested in the outcome, and I’m enjoying the posts.
This morning when I looked at FB, and this discussion popped on the top, I laughed a bit. It’s interesting the things about which we get passionate. And then I noticed that people WERE passionate, they were sure they had the best vacuum, but they did allow as to how there might have been some areas where their vacuum could use a little improvement. No one, however, seized those comments and started calling the adherent names, or pointing out their stupidity and their lack of morality for supporting the WRONG vacuum. No, none of that. The whole discussion was about the merits of their vacuum and the situations where it excelled and where it might be a bit weak. No one told my niece-in-law that she would be damned for getting the other brand.
Wow, it was refreshing. Conversation on merits of the contestant. No name calling. No moral judgements.
Let’s elect vacuum cleaners to public office. It will make us better people and I can’t imagine the vacuums will do all that much worse than some of our politicians.
Full Disclosure: I own 3 vacuums: Miele, Panasonic, Zip. 🙂