MURPHY'S LAW The technology of Bob, with an attitude

By Patrick Murphy

Bob’s been cleaning the house.

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, he roams the house sucking up dog hair and whatever else the humans and dogs bring into the house.

We have a Roomba, a computerized vacuum that goes from room to room using sensors to navigate around furniture to clean the house.

We got a Roomba because I said we should get a Roomba, my wife said no, then she said we should get a Roomba, so now we have a Roomba.

When I was a kid my mom vacuumed with this round contraption on wheels that followed her from room to room, but you had to be careful it didn’t get stuck on a door or chair or it would not move and you would have to go back and see what was in its way.

It died after my brother tried painting his car with it.

Then we got an upright vacuum that was all the rage. Much easier to move, and all those attachments to make cleaning fun. Who could not love vacuuming with such innovative technology.

The answer is everyone because no one likes to vacuum.  

I remember when a hand vacuum was a big deal. A little hand-held vacuum Dust Buster to suck up small messes. Such a great toy.

Now, we have Bob, this contraption that is programmed to start vacuuming at a certain day and time, then puts itself away.

But it’s not perfect.

Sometimes Bob sleeps in. Instead of getting started in the morning, sometimes he doesn’t get started until around noon.

I think Bob is a teenager.

Sometimes Bob doesn’t clean every room.

Sometimes Bob cleans the same room over and over again.

Bob likes to keep the weekends for himself.

Yes, Bob is a teenager.

I’m just waiting for him to start rolling his eyes and giving me attitude.

Having a computerized vacuum does not mean the end of conventional, human-operated vacuums.

Bob doesn’t fit under couches and he doesn’t go upstairs or downstairs.

I don’t think he’s figured out how to go under the bed, and since he’s round, corners are ignored.

Bob has his limitations, but it’s pretty cool to come home — or watch him during the lunch hour — clean the house.

The dogs do not care for him, and usually head for another room or go outside when Bob is on the job, but that’s the way they treat any vacuum.

I just ignore him and turn up the volume on the TV. I’m not going to complain about anyone vacuuming so I don’t have it, even if they have an attitude.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.