My New Friend

It had been an irritating afternoon that turned quickly into a depressing darkening dusk. No one wanted to play Mahjong, the “drive thru associate” at McDonalds gave me the wrong order, the crabby clerk at the grocery drummed her fingers as I dug through my purse for change. As I pulled up to my garage I saw a package sitting on my doorstep, the porch light highlighting the edges of the cardboard box. The blue PRIME moniker announced its Amazon source. Hooray! It was a robot vacuum I had ordered a few days before.  After unloading the groceries I took the package inside and opened the box. There was another box, and packing tape securely sealed each possible entry into the second package like an impenetrable fortress. Tomorrow. I retreated to the softness of my bed and the warmth of my dog who nestled beside me.

The next morning, I tore into the box. Visions of dog fur being effortlessly sucked up motivated me to conquer the grip the tape held on the carton. I broke a nail ripping cardboard flaps trapped beneath that tenacious packing tape. No mind—a few careful nibbles from my teeth smoothed the edges. Freed at last, the vacuum, the charger, and directions sat on my dining table. It had to charge for four hours. Four hours?!

Finally the blue indicator light was steady, telling me the vacuum was ready to sweep and gather debris from the floors my dog had littered with his fur, floors I had swept crumbs onto as I ate dinner on the sofa, floors I hadn’t (ahem) vacuumed as much as I should have. I pushed the blue button. It came alive! Did Dr. Frankenstein feel such excitement? The machine I named Sucks2BU whirred its motor, backed out of its dock and began twirling its side brushes. Go! Go! Go!

I watched, mesmerized by the patient, plodding circular disk cruising in right angles (some angles more obtuse than others) around my house. Sucks2BU doggedly set in a direction until it encountered the TV stand. It backed up, turned a few degrees, headed in the new direction until it ran into the sofa. I was in love.

I grabbed the remote to Sucks2BU, held it, pondered its possible commands. What would it do on its own? I looked up and saw that my mini robot had left the carpeted living room and soldiered into the tiled kitchen. It can do that? On its own? It bumped against the dishwasher, pivoted, headed towards the refrigerator. The darn thing went under the refrigerator and backed out. Sucks2BU was miraculous! It was independent of me, but doing for me. I had a new friend.

Like all friendships, there comes a time when even the smartest and most determined friend needs help. Poor Sucks2BU got trapped between the legs of a chair. It had stopped, its little motor had ceased humming. It sat patiently like an upturned turtle waiting for rescue. I felt maternal as I pulled its circular body away from the metal legs and set it in the open so it could continue its work. I pressed the blue button of battle. It headed out of the living room, down the hall, and into a bedroom. Its whirring was comforting like hearing the fan of a well-oiled furnace on a wintery night. It left me to do what it was designed to do, and yet I knew it would return.

I left for a meeting (did I really wave and say goodbye to both the dog and Sucks2BU?) When I returned Sucks2BU had docked, its blue button flashing I’m tired, I’m tired, its container filled with dust and debris and DOG HAIR. I tenderly emptied the canister and brushed fine dust particles from the filter. Yes, we have a symbiotic relationship, Sucks2BU and I. Sucks2BU cleans, and I clean Sucks2BU. Works for people too. A friendship worth keeping.

About Patti Albaugh

I grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1965. I have a Bachelor's Degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. I am an Emeritus Professor at Otterbein University. In addition to writing creative nonfiction and fiction, I like bridge, genealogy, gardening, travel and Mah Jjong. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my dog Tonto. I am the proud parent of children Justin and Amy and the proud grandmother (NANA) of granddaughters Katherine and Zoe.
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5 Responses to My New Friend

  1. Kathy Gamble says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My daughter-in-law wants one. I’m thinking of getting it for a Christmas gift and wondered if they really work. Thanks

  2. Patricia Tewksbury says:

    Love it! P~

  3. Lesley says:

    Love your posts, Patti! This story brought a smile to my face and a realization that I need one of those robots around here. Have a fabulous Christmas! Love, Lesley

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Judith Bamber says:

    Very engaging and entertaining, Patti. Love how Sucks2BU has become such a dynamic friend. Now, I’m wondering how Tonto feels about the competition? Keep your articles coming, Patti. Love you girlfriend!

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