The Tuscan Whole Milk reviews in Amazon.com. 933 (today) and counting. I find this sort of obsessiveness (or the thought that someone else has this sort of obsessiveness) very reassuring. It reminds me that there is nothing wrong with focus and that the real trick is to choose a target rather than frittering around from topic to topic, stoking unevenly a pallid fire of weak intentions in the coal box of an otherwise heavenly dynamo that drives us from birth to death.
TWM is not the best example of this sort of obsessiveness. I kept an ongoing editorial argument between two ornithologists over my desk for year when I worked in Cambridge, MA. as I recall, the article that sparked the argument covered the habits of the piping plover. Both ornithologists posed as Plover experts. The argument, which has now been lost to me (I would need to plow through the Wall Street Journal’s letter archive and I’m too lazy right now), was entirely vicious. Lots of underhanded sarcasm and obsessive, obsessive attention for detail.
I’ve been thinking about housekeeping and janitorial carts today. I saw one of the carts, loaded, when I walked down the stairwell in the back of my building on my way to get some groceries at Bugis Center where I saw another set of carts. I saw a third set (well, a mop bucket with wheels, which counts) on my way back from Bugis. I took photographs of two of the carts but not the mop bucket.
I’ve done only a little bit of janitorial work and this was part of a college landscaping crew so I have no exposure to indoor/ industrial janitorial work. At the same time, I imagine that the cart is a very personal item and that there are strong cart preferences and strong thoughts on cart design. That carts have evolved into so many forms tells me that there has been a sort of natural selection process, where some design features, such as big wheels migrated toward outdoor or trash container applications while narrow carts migrated toward buildings with narrow stairwell platforms (so the cart can be put on stairwell to keep it out of the way when someone is cleaning a hallway.) It would be interesting to see whether carts have changed to accommodate changes in building designs. I am sure that they have changed to accommodate evolving job descriptions. In the future, when our janitor is also the person in charge of the it system, I could expect a cart that has both a trash receptacle and a set of small screwdrivers for removing a server chassis.
But all of that is beside the point. Carts interest me because they have the perfect spectrum of design features. In some cases, such as a car, there are thousands of features which change all of the time and are highly interdependent. It is impossible to see all of the design tradeoffs as they evolve over time. In the case of a janitorial cart, it is possible (maybe) to look back at the history of carts and visualize all of the tradeoffs and to see how well they worked.
That brings me to another question: Why don’t I see carts for carpenters? Are they just too large for a worksite? Would it be a pain to take them up and down from the truck each day? I see small work buckets with cleverly designed tool aprons (this was an innovation a few years ago) and I’ve seen some tool buckets with wheels, but no carts. Curious.