I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me: I hate vacuuming.
I know, I know. You were probably thinking to yourself, “That Smidge, he just loves writing books, eating nachos, and vacuuming.”
But alas, only two of those things are accurate. I hate the task of vacuuming, and I also hate the word. I can never spell it right. I always think it should have two C’s and one U. I’m going to write my congressman.
Anyway, since I dislike vacuuming so much, you can imagine how excited I was when I found a reasonably-priced Roomba at Fry’s Electronics. (If you are unfamiliar with Fry’s, it’s a strange, semi-nationwide chain of stores that give you the impression that a Walmart, a Radio Shack, and a 7-Eleven all got together and had a love child. You can buy a 60-inch flat screen TV, a no-kink garden hose, a three-pack of Barbie dolls, a ten-micro-farad capacitor for your circuit board, and a 64-ounce soda all at the same cash register.)
Roombas are made by a company called iRobot, and just like the iPhone, the new ones cost about the same amount as a semester at Yale. But apparently, just like the iPhone, last year’s models are looked down upon by the hipster robotic vacuum in-crowd, so I was able to score one for what a semester at a midwestern junior college might cost. It was on the aisle between the Samsung refrigerators and the pool noodles.
I brought it home, absolutely giddy with how much time and frustration it was about to save me.
And then I watched it work.
I don’t think it’s saving me any time at all, and it’s certainly not reducing my frustration levels. I was under the impression when I purchased it that you just push the button and walk away, letting it clean your house for you, but that’s not how it works. It must be constantly monitored and given verbal directions, because it seems to be a total vacuuming moron.
That’s the table leg. Just go around it. Yes, that’s the same one. You ran into it twice within five seconds. Who programmed you?
Go left! Left!
OK, now you’re stuck under the easy chair. Why would you go under there? You have sensors on your front. Use them!
Oh, my God, get out from under the chair. Get out! OK, fine, let me lift it up. OK, there you go. Now go left. Left!
Why would you make a 180 after you just got stuck under that chair? Why are you going back?
Here, let me block you with my foot. Yes, I don’t want you to go back under there. That’s it, turn around.
No! Don’t come back to my foot!
OK, good, now you’re heading the right direction. Get that carpet. Wait. Where are you going? Why are you leaving this room? You made one six-inch-wide pass at the living room carpet and you’re leaving? There’s a lot more carpet!!
Why would you go back to that table leg?
OK, good. Get the hardwood floors. This is why you’re here. Get the dog hair. Looking good. I’m going to leave you now and go do something else.
I need to… what’s that clicking sound? That’s a baseboard, why are you… that’s a wall. Why are you just running into it? Are you stuck on the baseboard? Seriously? How is that possible? Did your designer not plan for baseboards?? Get off! Just go left!!! OK, let me kick you loose, and then I really have to go do other things. I can’t be here with you the whole… get out of the drapes!
Just go left!
Dining room, OK. Great, looking good. No, that’s a chair. Don’t go under… why? Why would you go under the chair? Just spin around and go back out the way you came. What is hard about that?? Why would you go back there? OK, now! Go left!
Let me just lift the chair up for you. OK, get out. Go get the carpet. Don’t… sweet mother Mary and Joseph, why would you go back under the same damn chair!?!?
OK, seriously, I need to go. Just get the carpet over there to the left.
That’s the coffee table. I don’t think you fit under… yes, you’re stuck. Oh, you have a nice female voice with a soothing accent in there to tell me you’re stuck. I can see that, but thanks for the verbal heads-up. Let me just get you out of there. OK, now go get the… No! Go left! WHY WOULD YOU GO BACK TO THE SAME PLACE YOU JUST GOT STUCK!?!?
OK, go do… another chiming sound? What does that one mean? Now where are you going? Back to the dock? Oh, battery is low… well, OK. Thanks for cleaning under all those chairs. Maybe next time we could get more of the actual floor? Have a great rest.
For those of you who watch too many sci-fi movies and worry that the machines are going to take over the world, I wouldn’t sweat it. I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen
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