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Everybody loves a robot vacuum (except for when you need a regular vacuum)

Everybody loves a robot vacuum (except for when you need a regular vacuum)


Love in the time of robots

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Like most relationships in life, it's unreasonable to expect one person or thing to fulfill all of your needs, but we sometimes choose to appreciate that thing for whatever it can do.

That's pretty much how I feel about my Roomba. I am fully aware that the Roomba, which I've named Truman, can't clean stairs, doesn't suck the dust from the corners of the couch, and sometimes gets stuck on a chair leg or caught up in cables. But I love that twice a week, while I'm working, Truman sputters around the place and sucks up junk from the carpet and floors and I don't have to do a thing. I even love the little triumphant noise Truman makes when it finds its way back to the charging dock.

Still, a Roomba can't do it all. At least once a week I have to grab a sensor-free, human-activated Dyson vacuum out of a closet because I need something basic, like a vacuum hose. I push the thing, and roll the cord up after the fact. It's not that onerous, and sometimes I wonder what the value is, then, in having two vacuums. Can one just do it all? If I had to do it all over again, would I just get a really powerful push vacuum cleaner, rather than a robotic one?

It would almost certainly be the more practical choice. But again, no one ever said love — especially with robots — is practical.