Side effects of robots

I bought a Roomba a few weeks ago and the effect it’s had on my life has been quite startling.  It’s completely changed the way I think about household chores, but not necessarily in the way you would expect.

I’m somewhat of a dichotomy.  I abhor mess but am not inherently a tidy person.  This causes me a problem.  After putting down a new wood floor in my house it became clear that the part of my brain that abhors mess was going to be particularly loud now that any piece of debris, dirt or dust was very visible (previously I had a dark carpet, which hid much of the dirt that’s now very visible – out of sight, out of mind).

My solution was to buy a Roomba.

I went for the 650, which has on board scheduling so it can clean with minimum interruption every day.  And it works remarkably well.  To my surprise it gets in to the corners, under the furniture and generally cleans rather well.  It’s not as powerful as my Dyson, but then again it cleans every day.  The Dyson is a grenade where the Roomba is death by a thousand cuts (er, death to dust, I guess).

Pleasant side effects

What’s been interesting is my and my fiancée’s attitude.  The entire house is the cleanest and tidiest it’s ever been.  Whereas before I’d feel comfortable leaving pair of shoes neat the front door, now they get put away.  Not because putting them away is the right thing to do but because if I don’t, the Roomba will bump in to them.  Likewise for anything else you can possibly imagine would rest on the floor and interfere with the Roomba’s operation.  Chargers, bags, mail, laptops.  They all get cleared away religiously.

But here’s where the dichotomy comes in.  The above only applies to large items.  Small items of dirt, dust or debris are left for the Roomba.  More worryingly, “Leave it to the Roomba” has become a common phrase in the house.  And even more worrying, I’ve found myself gently brushing dust on to the floor and off other pieces of furniture.  It’s very bizarre, and not something I would have ever considered previously.  But knowing that the floor will definitely be cleaned in a few hours has a strange, liberating feeling to it.

I never imagined that having a Roomba would make my put my shoes away every day.   Pleasant side effects.

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