My Roomba came today, and I swear to God it made sense for me to get one back when I ordered it. I was tired of seeing the bits of styrofoam and big dust tumbleweeds all over my hallway that’ve been there for the past few weeks, but I was out of vacuum bags. My dream-logic rationalization was this: I could just go to Target, find the bags, get them home and see they don’t fit, go back to Target and get the right ones (I did all this, last time I moved), vacuum everything up, and then go back to being too lazy to vacuum for another eight months or the next time I had to move.
Or, I could make an investment in a fairly expensive robot vacuum, which costs more now but would be more likely to get used more often. Put it that way, and it’s a bargain! And I’m realizing that I’ve got to clean more often around here — I don’t want to get too graphic, but I’ll just say that I’m way too hairy to only vacuum twice a year.
So I took the thing out of the box, and I swear it shuddered a little when it saw the floor. It was kind of like a Russian mail-order bride who’s resigned herself to making sacrifices in order to start a new life in America, but then she gets off the plane and sees her new husband is Michael Moore. After I charged it up and let it wander around a little, it got to the bathroom door and immediately turned around. I’m sure it was just because of the lip of the floor into the bathroom, but I wouldn’t have blamed it even still.
It managed to navigate around both rooms of my apartment and the hallway without much incident, although it did threaten to chew up my speaker cables (they warn you about that, and they need to get taped up anyway) and it got stuck under the couch and had to call for help so I could dislodge it.
When it was finished: well, the results weren’t all that great. There were still plenty of missed corners, and it left long strings of hair and lint on the edge of the rug. But to be fair, it was kind of like sending a coal-mine canary into Chernobyl. I put a new bag in the upright vacuum (now that I had already bought the Roomba, my brain switched out of have-to-buy-new-gadget mode and reminded me that I had one spare left from the last time I moved) and did a pass over the whole apartment. It was a lot easier knowing that it was the last time I’d ever have to do it.
The thing comes with a remote so you can drive it around yourself; I haven’t used it yet because I don’t have any batteries. So now all I need is a cat and a teddy bear. The only part that bugs me so far is that they had to make it “cute,” so it has a different beep for all its different cleaning modes, including a little “uh-oh” beep when it gets stuck. It sounds too much like those little Simon games and programmable robots from the 80s.
I’m not going to lie; now I want a Scooba too, but that’s not going to happen. They’re twice as expensive, I just don’t have the floor to warrant one, and besides, two cleaning robots would be getting into OCD clean-freak territory. I ended up washing the kitchen & bathroom floors “by hand” tonight, and I just locked the Roomba in the bathroom to sweep up the leftovers. It’s in there, banging against the walls and the door like William Hurt in Altered States.
I’m sure it won’t be long before it starts to put the pieces together. “I serve Human. I clean floors. Human is dirty. Human makes floor dirty. Must eliminate Human.” But if it gets all uppity, it’s really not fast at all and I can just out-run it into the living room. It’ll get lodged under the couch and then I can just point and laugh while it beeps for help.
I think I’m going to call it “Lupe,” because “she no Dust Buster.”