Suck it up: Technology is here, like it or not

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Generally, I shun technology. Fear it, even. I am still using a circa 1997 computer because, quite frankly, I’m scared to death of having to approach some 17-year-old employee at the equivalent of a “Techno Toys “R” Us” and showcase my pathetic ignorance.
What I know about RAM you could stuff into a walnut. I don’t have an iPod (see dinosaur computer above) or a TiVo either. Frankly, the idea of going on record with the drivel I watch and, worse, having some digital machine showcasing it for all and sundry to later call me on it is more than I want to commit to television-wise. I prefer to keep an attainable level of deniability.
Not to mention that, like many from the generation that straddles the millennium, I’m ticked that here it is 2006 and I STILL don’t have a flying car. Vacuum. Nonetheless, even a virtual Luddite like me must someday succumb to the lure of the techno world; to the call of the scientific siren, to boldly go where virtually everyone has gone before – and two models ago, at LEAST.
For me, that uncharted technological territory is a vacuum. No, not the black-hole, space kind of vacuum. An actual vacuum. A Roomba to be concise.
Roomba is a self-propelled vacuum cleaner shaped like a CD player that weighs just 7 pounds. It moves around on two, black, rubber wheels and one caster and uses brushes and squeegee-like rubber sweepers to coax the dirt, pet hair and errant crumbs into it.
About the size of a horseshoe crab, Roomba moves with the same gait. Horseshoe crabs do have an edge though: eyes. Roomba navigates by belligerently bumping into things and then changing direction. It appears to be much like having your own, tiny, drunken guest careening off the furniture.
Of course, like all things techno, I will have to accept that Roomba isn’t really all that self-sufficient. Apparently, it is very strict on demanding that certain things like electric cords and stray socks be taken off the floor. It also has an approximately one hour run-time before the battery runs down.
I’m told if you miss the beep that signals the end is near, you can loose Roomba completely when it dies in some far-flung corner of your house. I can only hope that Roomba might meet up with any one of the many television remote controls we routinely misplace and they could venture together back to safety. It would be like a particularly daring appliance caper. Maybe they could get their own cartoon?
Not a pick-up man. It is interesting to note that according to the literature I’ve been lapping up since discovering the existence of my next true love, Roomba’s pathfinding program was based on engineering originally created for a military robot designed to clear minefields.
Imagining the general state of our 8-year old son’s room, this seems just about right.
When he was an infant, I bragged incessantly that my baby was special because he never tried to put anything in his mouth. Unlike most toddlers, he never stuffed lint or errant pennies into his mouth.
Overly proud and failing to see the big picture, I completely missed the fact that what this meant, in essence, was that he would never pick up ANYTHING. Ever. I say if Roomba is based on minefield designs, it has at least a fighting chance against his room.
I would worry, however, that our daughter’s collection of tiny fashion doll accessories not visible to the naked eye may prove to be its undoing. I have it on good authority that a wayward Barbie shoe jammed into the instep on a late night jaunt to the bathroom can easily take down a full-size adult.
Need more help. Nonetheless, in my relentless quest to completely overextend myself, there is also a ridiculous amount of stuff I’ve slated for my to-do list, thus rendering it completely un-do-able. Most days, I may as well add, “strip paint off of entire house, alphabetize magazine collection and discover the secret to world peace.” Thus, I’ll take any help I can get.
Now all I need is a “pick-up-the-clutter-ba,” “return-overdue-library-books-ba,” and “get-the-dog-to-stop-eating-the-porch-furniture-ba” and I’ll be good to go.
Well, those AND a flying car.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is still waiting for her own jet pack and/or flying car. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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