For six years I have been at war with my window blinds.
Our house has nine windows, all of which are outfitted with horizontal, two-inch-wide, wooden blinds. These are good quality blinds. They’re not flimsy, splintered, or warped. The pulls work smoothly to raise or lower the blinds or to flip the individual slats from venting upwardly to venting downwardly. They keep out blazing sunlight by day and glaring street lights at night. They allow my husband and me to dress and undress without exposing ourselves to the neighbors.
But these blinds are always coated with dust. They hold onto dust with the same resolve that Velcro sticks to pantyhose. Their flat surfaces, intended to be smooth, have the complexion of a kiwi.
If on Monday I meticulously wipe away the dust from both sides of a set of blinds, come Tuesday the blinds sport a whole new batch of fur. It’s as if their survival is dependent upon wearing that gray fuzzy armor.
Even as I am removing the specks of dust that have settled like squatters on a particular window blind, tiny fuzzy particles are dancing in the air, migrating to nest on the newly cleaned surface. As if they own the place. As if they pay the mortgage. Arrogant, despicable crumbs of worthless matter!
Dusty blinds are the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to sleep at night. Worse, the dust also assaults my sense of hearing. Day and night the tiny particles can be heard monotonously muttering an edited version of the old 60’s chant. “Heck, no. We won’t go,” they swear.
More and more my gaze is glued to the blinds covering our windows. I eyeball each speck of dust as it sticks its tiny tongue out at me and eases itself down on a freshly wiped blind. There it performs the only biological function of which it is capable: making dust babies. In the reproductive process of dust, it takes only one to tango.
My husband catches me now and again wiping futilely at the furry coat worn by those blinds summer and winter. “Come away from the window,” he urges me gently. “Don’t torture yourself. Remember what the psychiatrist told you.”
I refuse to concede defeat. I called a blind cleaning company in our area and got a quote on their services. I have calculated that if my husband and I stop eating out, quit taking vacations, cease buying birthday gifts for our grandkids, and pull a thousand dollars a month from our retirement savings, we can afford to have our blinds cleaned once a week.
I pitched the idea to my husband.
He thinks I should go away for a while, take in some new scenery. He suggested I spend a month in a rain forest where daily showers would remove all dust from my tree house dwelling. Does he think I’m crazy? I can’t go away and allow dust to accumulate to a depth of three inches on each window blind.
Sometimes I wonder if that man is playing with a full deck.