like a man trying to find a clean vacuum bag

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Yuyka

Senior Member
Czech
Hello,

In the book I've been translating I have come across this sentence:

"I sat on an uncomfortable metal chair as he pottered around me like a man trying to find a clean vacuum bag."

(source: Claire North: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)

I suppose "potter around" here means probably something like "do some little work here and there", but I'm puzzled as to the latter part of the sentence. What exactly shall I picture when I imagine "a man trying to find a clean vacuum bag"? And what is meant by "a vacuum bag"? a) bag to go into a vacuum cleaner, or b) a bag for storing eg. clothes where you hoover the air out to save space?

Am I missing something? Does the sentence sound funny to you, native speakers? If so, why? Or is it just supposed to be weird? :)

Thanks a lot,

Yuyla
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is a bag that goes in the vacuum cleaner to collect the dust.

    They are small, and difficult to classify into a suitable storage place, and therefore practically impossible to find when you need one. Especially if you are a man and usually leave housework to the women.
     

    Yuyka

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Hello, se16teddy,

    thanks for the brilliant explanation. Being a woman, this really hasn't occured to me. You're right, I do the hoovering and it would take me less than a second to find vacuum bags. Whereas my husband would spend ages looking for them, ending up asking me to fetch them, or, more likely, to do the hoovering myself.

    This really made me laugh. :) Thanks again,

    Yuyka
     
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