Roomba envy is this obsession that follows me wherever I go. Like a madness, that plagues me, I cannot overcome it. When visiting friends I do not look for cob webs in the corners of their homes or dust clinging to the top shelves. (Definitely, my grandmothers influence. Love you Nana.) My eyes scan the floor. I search for charging stations, electronic walls or any other indication a robotic vacuum occupies their space.
I quickly comment when I notice such paraphernalia. (Yes, I had to look up how to spell that word.) I hope they, too, have a similar attachment to their gadgets. When spotted, immediately, I am drawn into conversation about particular device models, performance and, or, general fascination. It would be similar to the ooh’s and ahh’s of fawning over a new baby. So when recently at a friend’s home I could not ignore the pained look in a Roomba’s eyes.
This young, male robot was working. Her floors gleamed with his attentions. (My granddaughter informed that it was a he and not a she.) He was a newer member to the Roomba line. A handsome, dashing fellow cleaning the best he could from his computer chip memory. But, there was a haunted look about him. You could say he walked with a limp, a hiccup in his giddy-up. I was drawn to his side.
It was possible, only I could hear his cries.
“What is wrong with him?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” she said.
“Roomba. There is something wrong with him. He isn’t working right,” concern arched in my brow I moved into his zone and picked him up. I believe I frightened her, that I should comment on her vacuum cleaner and then have the audacity to flip him over, like a pup, and rub his belly.
If he had any obstructions, I would have gladly taken it upon myself to clean him up good and tidy, but he was free of any visible performance impediments. I must say, I was impressed with his general clean bill of health and care he was receiving. Yet, those frisky whiskers of his were not spinning for the added benefit of sweeping tight spaces
Being, the savvy penny pincher I try to be, and to avoid the costly expense of my Roomba expert, his traveling costs, hourly rates, after hours fines and the added bonus of his condescending, mocking voice, I first resort to the millions of internet advisors found on the famed GOOGLE. Again, these machines are fairly straight forward and, like Dyson, have colored coded Lego-like parts that snap together with puzzle type accuracy.
“I think you are going to have to return him,” I advised. “He is too new to not be working properly.” The little black disc cried a little as I held him, shuddering he should have to go back into a box and be permanently removed from this loving family. It couldn’t be helped. I shook my head sadly and placed him back on the floor. I pushed his clean button and watched him sulk off crushed by my analysis.
My girlfriend was heartbroken. She stared at him forlorn and concerned. She had not even realized he was sick. Her loving, motherly good nature took a hard hit. How could she not have known? “Are you sure?” she asked me.
“Yeah, I’m sorry.”
A few days later, I received an uplifting phone call. “I fixed him!” my friend told me excitedly.
I couldn’t believe it, “What? How?” A true glutton for Roomba knowledge and continued education.
“I took him apart, screw by screw and sure enough there was something lodged inside his body that kept his spinner from spinning.”
An in home operation. Even I don’t think I could be so brave. A true inspiration. She could not bear the separation from the newest member in her household, and only he would do. I had believed I was alone in having that kind of affection for a robot vacuum cleaner. I couldn’t help but be overjoyed and smiled. Now that is love. 🙂
Send Sunshine, we are all more alike than we would like to believe or care to see.