SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

Laundry, Laundry, Laundry!



October 21, 2017
Saturday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Recently, I went to a charity auction and clearly the most popular item was a Roomba.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Well, it wasn't an actual Roomba, which is a specific brand of robotic vacuum cleaner. This was a different brand, but since it promised to be "just as good" as a Roomba people were still interested in it. It went for $300 and I'm pretty sure that you could buy one on-line for half that, but that's the way that charity auctions work.

"$375 for a store bought lemon meringue pie? Count me in!!"

We always pay more because we are trying to help out our charity. Actually, some of us are also there because we are hoping against hope to snag a bargain that everyone else is too alcohol-addled to recognize.

Alcohol. of course, is always a big thing at these sorts of auctions, because nothing unloosens a wallet like 12 gallons of box wine!

And the more savvy of us figure that our fellow attendees will eventually get too drunk to make wise decisions. Unfortunately, those wise decisions rarely involve underbidding. But you can always hope.

Anyway, this particular "not-Roomba" was popular - and overpriced - because we are all sick to death of sweeping or vacuuming our floors.

Which is actually our great-great-great-great-great grandparents fault.

Why, you ask?

Well, once upon a time everyone had dirt floors. And when everyone - including our great-great-great-great-great grandparents -  had dirt floors they didn't given a flying fickle finger about dirt on them because..... well, because EVERYONE HAD DIRT FLOORS.

They also had dirt streets too and the dust from them covered pretty much anything that wasn't in motion, so they really didn't care about that either.

But then - all of a sudden - they did.

Someone, clearly not one of MY great-great-great-great-great grandparents, got all uppity and hoity toity and built themselves a floor and pretty soon everyone else was building floors too.  Because that's the goal of every human life. To copy every other human life.  Otherwise you might miss out something.

And the next thing you know, indoor plumbing and pneumatic bank drive thru tubes happened. Well not together.

Yeah, I know that in those days folks were more concerned about things like The Plague and Attilla the Hun, in exactly the same way we are always fussing about Wi-Fi speed and cell connectivity, but each era has its challenges. I'm sure our great-great-great-great-great grandparents had issues with life. Besides Attilla and The Plague (great name for a party band, eh?).

So, to get back to some sort of point, once upon a time humans didn't care much about dirt and a Roomba would have not been a best seller. Or at least that's how I imagine it would be if you have a Roomba and you used a time machine to take it back to 17th Century Ketchikan.

(humor me here, I realize there wasn't much of a Ketchikan in the 17th Century).

Anyway, it would be about as useful as a B-52 at the Battle of Waterloo.

Yes, I realize there would have been a certain "shock and awe" factor if a B-52 showed up at Waterloo. But its range would have been severely limited by a lack of JP-8 jet fuel, which wouldn't be invented for a century and a half. And also by a severe lack of runways for take off and landing. But at 159 feet in length and more than 400,000 pounds in weight, it would have made quite the statement as 50,000 Frenchmen hand carried it toward the Prussian lines.

But, I digress.

So our ancestors didn't care about Roombas because they didn't care about dirt. And they would have been especially flummoxed by Internet memes involving cats riding Roombas. But only because they didn't have electricity or batteries to keep their Facebook statuses up to date.

I, myself, have always been somewhat skeptical about Roombas. We have three cats and I know for a fact there is absolutely no robot vacuum in the world that can really clean up all that cat hair. I fully expect that we could set a Roomba loose on our wood floors and within 10 minutes it would be hacking up a giant robotic fur ball.

But the idea of a robot that does operate independently and at least makes a pass at doing some housework does interest me.

Specifically, with the laundry.

Like most homo sapiens, we have an incredibally high tech washing machine.

No old "ringer" for us. We have a machine that also answers the phone and also cooks supper, in addition to washing the clothes.

And not only does it wash clothes, but it also prepares lattes and has a GPS. Which is sometimes helpful when we overload it and it starts bouncing around the laundry room like the first astronaut to set foot on the sun.

Our high tech washing machine also washes each item separately and adjusts the water temperature and the level of sudsification for each item of clothing, in addition to keeping track of the pocket change and immediately investing it in a 401K.

But what it does not - DOES NOT - do is load itself.

And this is a problem because all over our house we have these miniature Mt. Denali's of clothes. Just about every flat surface - including a Roomba, if we had one - has a little Mt. Garbmore rising above it.

Why is this?

I don't know.

Maybe it's just that as a species, human beings are pathologically unable to put away the laundry where it belongs?

I don't know about you, but as soon as I put clothes away, I completely forget that I have them. The only way to be reminded - and to actually wear them - is when I leave them in little piles throughout the house as if I needed clothing depots to keep me in appropriate attire as I walk from the bathroom to the bedroom to the living room to the kitchen.

And, natch, if we do NOT put them away then we are treated - twice a year at closet cleaning time - with the great excitement of discovering clothes that we had forgotten we even had. It's better than going to the clothing store, because we already know these clothes fit us. Or at least they did when we last wore them, six months ago..

But I digress, again.

So where would a Roomba come in?

I am so glad you asked.

Imagine a Roomba that didn't worry about dirt.

Imagine a Roomba that thought its greater purpose was something beyond a cat platform.

Imagine a Roomba that picked up our clothes piles and carried them to the laundry room and then loaded them into our super smart mashing machines.

Heck, we could even dare to dream of a Roomba that then returned the neat and folded laundry back to the piles from which it came.

Because the last thing we would want to do is actually put them away.

How ever, then, would the Roomba find them?


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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