A little oil banishes conspiracy theories

Opinion: Columns

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By Jill Wagner

I had used the last squirts of Windex at just the most perfect moment. It was one of those bottles that had great spray action and I needed it to mist a moss project-experiment I have going in my yard. So I cleaned it, filled it with water and, voila … the spray mechanism stopped working.

Why does this always happen? The lever suddenly develops a drop syndrome and won't spring back to reset unless I hit the bottle on something, jostling the lever back into position to eject water.

Googled it. Somewhere on the internet it claimed these bottles only work for a single use and are designed to fail after the exact number of sprays that correspond to the ounces in the bottle. I was amazed to think that engineers had designed these plastic spray bottles to be "single" use. It is diabolical, real-life evil-genius stuff, an amazing accomplishment and only as logical as blaming a political party for a pandemic.

Determined to avoid the path that would lead me to become BFF's with "deep state" peeps, I was going to find a way to make the bottle functional and be non-toxic so I can mist my moss. I pumped some vinegar through the sprayer — maybe it was clogged or dirty. It helped! The sprayer was strong again, but it was brief, and once again it required intervention to reset the spray.

I was not about to say "good-bye" to this bottle, our relationship was different than bottles in the past. I wanted to work it out because the blue liquid was gone.

Ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that I have "super-finding powers." Can find anything, a lost phone in a snow bank that dropped from my pocket in Rogers Park hours earlier, a rare special book that fell off the roof of my car on Marengo, hundreds of pipe cleaners for masks even when craft stores are closed for a pandemic, and anything my kids realize they are missing. Sometimes I call on St. Anthony for a hand, or I walk away for a bit, or I start doing something else, but I have a skill that has been crafted from many years of losing things.

I'm not sure when I chose to embrace my finding skills rather then get frustrated at my losing skills, but I am much happier "changing the way I look at a situation." Right now, for example, like a scribe on the Titanic, my basement is filling with water. I am not just writing, I am channeling my appreciation and spirit to find the right point of view to make the most of the next 48 hours.

Don't get me wrong, there are things that can really get my goat. Earlier today, I was waiting in line to go into a store. The sidewalk was marked with alternating 6-feet tape line and then an "x" which repeated for 20 or more spaces. About a dozen of us lined up, each on our very own "x" neatly standing 6 feet apart, waiting for customers to exit so we could enter. But something perplexing happened. When the line moved, the person in front of me chose to only move forward 3 feet, stopping midway between the "x" she left and her target 'x'.

Perhaps an independent spirit, or someone lacking experience standing on "x," or a narcissist, or maybe her ego is only limited to her own vantage point, but she caused quite the disturbance behind her. Everyone heard the proverbial "music start," and together we all took the steps forward to the next "x." But when she didn't quite make it to her target, I was at the mercy of her choice. It really got to me. But she was very kind when I said something to her; it was just a simple oversight.

I find peace and harmony in the more predictable activities, like recovering from a flood or simply figuring out how to reuse a Windex bottle. I'll take a logical problem that follows basic scientific rules any day over unpredictable human nature and ignorance.

 The irony of the Windex bottle situation amused me, as the very product that "fixes everything," was the only thing that actually worked in the sprayer.

 That was my lightbulb moment. Windex was lubricating the gears in the spray device. I just needed a little non-toxic lubricant. Olive oil! Lubed up the sprayer with some olive oil, then screwed the sprayer back on and presto, it worked. Great action on the lever again.

It's just a matter of perspective. Take a second to identify that no one is being tread upon, that there is no scheme trying to deter people from reusing spray bottles, no witch hunt needed, no conspiracy. It is science; the natural slipperiness of Windex keeps the spray mechanism working optimally, and a little olive oil is all it needed. The only thing we can control sometimes is our point of view, so have some olive oil, drop the blame game, and be happy.

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