Thursday, November 02, 2006

I, Robot

Will Smith found himself in a world of trouble in the semi-good "I, Robot" movie. My own recent "I, Robot" experience has been life-changing and a lot less perilous... To be precise, it was an iRobot experience.

Another of the distractions preventing the final draft of TWIMCT from ever getting finished has been some work offered to me that actually resulted in financial gain. Obviously too hard to pass up, this work for a realty office took priority and resulted in some tidy little paychecks. One of these checks was spent on an iRobot brand Roomba robotic vacuum, the real version of the thing we were supposed to all have by the 1980s. We opened the box with low expectations, but I wanted it to work very, very much - what with all the work I had put in and time I had sacrificed to earn the money to buy the darn thing on the off chance it would help maintain a degree of cleanliness in the house.

And by golly, it's great. Better than great.

You must understand, with two young children and a cat in the house no matter how hard you vacuum or scrub and wash the floor, within seconds of finishing you will be walking on a coating of Cheerios, disregarded Graham Crackers and cat litter. It's soul-destroying to finish cleaning up, then hear that familiar crunch of a misplaced breakfast cereal nugget as you go to put the cleaner back in the cupboard.

We are never going to rid the house of food scraps as long as we continue to allow the children to eat. And the cat litter is far more pleasant than the alternative - ie. cat shit. So, the Roomba has become our dog of sorts; it rids the floor of unpleasant food scraps, does what it's told to, and draws praise and loving looks from anyone watching it for a few minutes as it does its thing.

This morning I fired it up to clean the dining room while I went out to buy more food that would eventually end up crumbed on the floor. By the time I got back, my Roomba was blinking at me with a full tank of dust and enough Cheerios for a bowl to satisfy a hungry giant.

In short - it's better than a pet, and does crap I find the most depressing of tasks with a cheery beep. I am in love with a robot, a bit like Harrison Ford in Bladerunner. A very little bit.

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