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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I spent a year working for a well-known carpet cleaning company, a job for which I was completely unsuited. I'm glad I did it because it broke me out of my comfy suburban boy bubble. Anyway, many odd things happened. Here's one of them.

My coworker for the day (let's call him Z.) and I were called to a house in Ensley. The customer was a big friendly guy who answered the door in a T-Shirt advertising a gang ministry. He offered to share his dinner with us ("I'm not weird or anything, I'm just offering you dinner") which we declined. Then he led us to his bedroom, which we were to clean. By his bed was a pile of magazines; Christian magazines. Z., the customer and I started moving stuff out of the room, starting with the mags. We soon found that beneath the Christian mags were porno mags, though. Really creepy ones; the cheezy kind that look like they were shot in a garage. And the pinup girl is the editor's Mom. Special bonus: swinger newsletters, the kind with classified ads for "Polyamourous activity partners" that turned me off the human body when I was in grade school and found an issue in the road on my walk home from school. Ewww. Z. and I instantly fled from the mags and started moving the furniture. We figured we'd let the customer move his own strokebooks, but no dice. He hung back and let us move his mags. Then we cleaned, collected payment, and left.

Was the guy hoping we'd confront him on the contrast between the Christian stuff and the smutty stuff? Was he genuinely unaware of the incongruity? I've always wondered. People balancing faith and filth is no surprise, but the fact that he'd let us discover what looked like a guilty little secret seems like a cry for help that we didn't want to answer.

Speaking of which, there's a lot of lonely people out there. Some of them turn to carpet cleaners for human contact. We had women answer the door in nothing but towels, obviously considering a seduction, then changing their minds when they got a load of the fat smelly goofballs the company sent. We've had people dish all their grandkids' drug problems as we cleaned the grandkids' rooms. I suspect I'll do a few posts on my carpet cleaning misadventures.

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