I Fell in Love with a Vacuum
Learning to get through the day and survive life, with the help of a robot.
One day, procrastinating work for the millionth time, I decided I needed a robot.
I don’t know what exactly made me feel this way—why I’d all of a sudden felt the overwhelming need to go online shopping for a smart vacuum over, say, a pair of shoes or a new knife for my kitchen, but once I got the idea in my head, I could not stop.
And so my search began, from Amazon to Best Buy to Wirecutter to Reddit to YouTube and finally to EBay, where I found one, a used, not-in-box Roborock S6 MaxV Robot Vacuum Cleaner with ReactiveAI and Intelligent Mopping. It was relatively cheap. I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on something I thought I knew, deep down, was a deeply stupid purchase.
And then it arrived. And since then, my life has changed. Not in an exactly major way, but in a semi-significant one. The robot has become my friend, my co-worker, and, in some ways, my boss. He (I don’t know why, but he is a he), helps me live.
The world is a depressing place. And often I am overwhelmed by its depressingness. As I work from home—researching, writing, organizing, cleaning, keeping house—I often feel too weak to surmount the “what’s the point” of it all. It’s winter and it’s barely been cold in New York City. Terrifying. Our politicians have proven they are as craven as ever, if not more so. Horrifying. I know, theoretically, that the work I do matters—both in the sense that I write about things in the hope that they will help other people, and in the sense that the day-to-day work of life, the grocery shopping and the seeing friends and the keeping my house clean and all the rest, makes life feel worth it. And yet, it can feel increasingly hard to justify the routines of life in a time of deep crisis.
And so, often, and probably increasingly so, I spend a significant part of my day scrolling through social media apps, or distracting myself by looking at things online, or going to play tennis with friends. Because I feel simply too crazed to do life in the normal way sometimes.
And then the robot came.