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Friday, February 2, 2018

My Love Affair with Roomba


I don't how to say this any other way: I think I have fallen in love with Roomba. CSB tells me I am simply infatuated and that the glamour will fade and soon Roomba will spend lonely days in a closet gathering the same dust he now so diligently gathers.
I disagree. I remind CSB that I have fallen in love before, and I remain so. Why should my enchantment with Roomba ever fade?

Roomba, as the world knows, is a robotic vacuum. But Roomba is so much more. Roomba scoots around the house brushing the floor and sucking up dirt. Roomba has cliff sensors, floor tracking sensors, debris extractors, a Dirt Detect Indicator, a side brush, a dust bin and so much more.

When Roomba first arrived, I decided to name it. In our never-ending effort to be politically correct - why should house cleaners always be female? - we named him Aloysius. Now I wonder if there may have been a deeper reason for giving Roomba a masculine identity. Maybe, deep down, I realized I was going to become attached to Roomba, very attached, and very fond. And I am someone who is very fond of men, or a few good men.

It was all so serendipitous! To think that had I not gone down a certain aisle in Costco, an aisle that I normally do not go down and I only did on that day because I was looking for ink cartridges for my printer (they were out of the right kind), I would never have found Roomba. There it was on the bottom shelf of aisle three, beckoning, and I put one in my shopping cart. A classic case of impulse buying.

I already have a vacuum cleaner, an Electrolux that is generally considered to be a first-class vacuum. But my vacuum requires a human being to push it around the house. Roomba requires only that he is recharged. And his dirt bag emptied.

Aloysius scoots along the floor, wood floors and carpets equally smoothly, and gathers into his belly the detritus of our lives: dust motes, feathers, lint, pine needles, dog hair even though the dog has been dead for months, pencil shavings, more pine needles, wood chips, Cheerios, and so much more that is unidentifiable, but generally grey and fluffy.
Aloysius has never yet returned to his dock without a load of grey and fluffy stuff. I have to ask: does my house have an infinite supply, an ever-renewing supply, of dust, dirt, lint, pine needles and chicken bedding? Or will there come a time when Aloysius travels the length and breadth of the floors and gathers nary a mote?

Daisy and Bruno, and then only Bruno, used to keep me company in the house. With the dogs, there was always another breathing presence, a companion and a witness to my indolence and obsessiveness. When Bruno died last year, I was bereft. And left alone. It is unclear whether we will get another dog or dogs. Actually, all that is required is for CSB to succumb to my persuasive entreaties. But now I have Aloysius. He wanders around the house, as Bruno did. He can get under beds and sofas, as only Bruno could. Bruno left a trail of dirt and dog hair behind him, while Aloysius sucks up dirt and hair.

I know that I can program Roomba to vacuum while I am out, but aside from the fact that I have never been adept at programming devices (viz. DVR, VCR, crockpot), it would feel like abandonment to leave Roomba suctioning away while I was elsewhere. When I am here I can silently cheer him on, and of course, I can get him out of predicaments. I can untangle the shoelaces that are wound around his debris extractors, and I can extract him from a too-tight place, or I can remove the fire screen that has fallen atop him and is now being carried on Aloysius' back, like a fallen branch atop a turtle.

Like the dogs, Roomba does not judge me or make demands. And nothing in my life collects so much detritus.


6 comments:

Lindsay duPont said...

Haha!!!!
Love it!!!

Marianna Houston said...

My brother bought my sister-in-law year’s ago a robotic vacuum cleaner and she was heartbroken over the masculine ridiculousness that went into buying such a gift. She gave it to a thrift shop. Needless to say I IMMEDIATELY sent your SQD essay to them. Thank you. Always good to have a reliable love object available at all times!

annie said...

That essay was truly funny, Christine, although I must confess I never christened my roomba and would frequently curse at it. Perhaps I never really understood it in the way you did not really gave it a chance to sweep away my detrius! Actually I ended up selling it for $100 on Craig's List to a man who wanted to give it to his wife! Aie yie yie!

Unknown said...

i'm in love.

Lizzard said...

We will have so much fun pouncing on it!

rrbruce said...


You have taken us precariously close to adopting one. The affection is contagious.