My day hadn’t been particularly monumental. I can remember talking to myself the whole way home from the shopping mall and not enjoying the conversation. We (me, myself and I) decided the best course of action would be to plop down on our favorite chair, pull out a Bill Bryson book, and forget the rest of the world.
It worked. Before long, Bryson and I were out exploring the wilds of Australia while he explained, in the greatest of detail, the multitude of deadly creatures that call the Outback home sweet home.
Gone from my mind were several piddling concerns as I found myself thousands of miles away, cautiously attempting to avoid the sharp teeth of a monstrous salt water crocodile.
Suddenly, the croc – and Australia – disappeared. I was jolted back to reality by an eerie buzzing noise directly beneath my reclined body.
Zigging and zagging across the room was plate-shaped object, emitting a tune I had never heard before.
As it spiraled around, lights flashing, I had the uneasy feeling that a creature from outer space had come calling.
It banged into a table leg, spun around, and headed in the opposite direction. Seconds later, it was bouncing off the end of the sofa and on its way back toward me.
“What the heck is that thing?” I yelled as it made contact with my recliner, grunted another beeping noise, reversed direction and shot across the room in the general direction of the coffee table.
“That’s Betty. Isn’t she great?” my wife, Sharon, answered from the kitchen.
“Great for what?” I shouted back.
“For cleaning the floor,” she answered. “She’s a robotic vacuum sweeper.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” I replied as Betty made her way in my direction once more.
“I’m not kidding. All I do is turn her on and she roams around the house vacuuming the floors.”
About that time, Betty wedged herself under a chair and started beeping.
“This doesn’t happen very often,” Sharon said as she freed Betty from the chair and pointed her in another direction.
“About the only time I have to touch it is when its full of dust.”
My gosh, I thought to myself. When I left home this morning, I never expected to return a few hours later and find a robot running around the house. All of a sudden, I felt like George Jetson.
“I saw it advertised on television and decided to try it,” Sharon explained. “It has a money-back guarantee, but I think I’m going to keep it.”
She handed me the box Betty came in. “Roomba the Intelligent Floor Vac from iRobot” was printed on each side.
I looked up to see Betty had nosed her way into another room. She was busy cleaning a throw rug as relentlessly as she had attacked the wood floor in the family room.
I settled back down in my recliner and picked up Bill again. Within a matter of seconds, I was back in Australia with that big old croc.
It wasn’t long until Betty made her presence known once more as she hummed past me in the direction of the bedroom.
Maybe the future is here, but I don’t think I’m ready for it.
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.