About The Roomba …

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Max the best floor cleaner in the world!

Running a bit late for my Yoga class, I knew I’d have to walk quickly from the parking lot to get there in time.  I’d left home a bit late as a result of a last minute phone call and then there was the fender bender on the bypass that didn’t help either.

 As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed the parking meters were gone.  All of the spaces were now numbered and there were several new signs telling me to remember my parking spot number and go to one of the two pay stations at opposite ends of the lot to pay for leaving my car.

Just a few days ago, I had parked in that same lot to do some shopping.  There was no sign that things would be changing in the near future. I was low on quarters for the parking meter and added a stop at the bank to my To Do List, to get $10.00 worth of coins so that I’d have a stash for my biweekly trips to the Down Town Mall. 

I got out of my car and easily found the place to pay. There was a line of about six people trying to figure out how it worked and no experts about to help.  Slowly but surely, the line dwindled. One person left to find parking elsewhere. A few youngsters ahead of me quickly caught on to the new system and rushed off to their appointments.  

I pushed the button marked Start Here and waited for the screen to to tell me what to do next. It seemed to be in a language that I had never encountered before. Being in my seventies and sensitive about a mind that doesn’t work the way it use to, I was getting more and more embarrassed. I had tried over and over again to figure out how this damned machine worked but got more and more messed up with every try.  

I couldn’t just leave my car there and go off to yoga as numerous large and intimidating signs warned that cars would be towed unless the owners had paid. My anxiety levels were rising quickly,  I knew I would be late for my class, and I was close to tears.  

When I saw my friend, Beverly, walking toward me to say hello, I asked her if she knew how these freaking machines worked. She was able to rescue me as she’d gotten instructions in a different lot just yesterday, when a kind person was walking back to her car.  

As she worked her magic, I stood by trying desperately to memorize the steps to pay for parking. I’d be back in just a few days for another class and some shopping. I thanked her, gave her a hug, and ran off to Yoga, promising we’d chat again very soon.  I made it to class just as it was beginning. 

Thank goodness for Beverly, yoga and Barb, the best yoga teacher in the world.  At the end of class I was relaxed and back to my old self. The rest of the day went beautifully until I went to bed and started to OCD about the new parking system, why it was not a good thing,  and whether I’d remember how to pay next time. It was not my preferred way to start a good night’s rest, but monkey mind is never far away and loves to mix things up especially at bedtime.

As sleep finally began to overtake me I thought again about the Roomba I had considered  getting. The monkey wouldn’t give up. 

I was looking for help in cleaning up after myself in the kitchen. I love to cook, but am messy, dropping lots of food particles on the floor. Though Max is a real live Roomba, and sweeps up after me, he doesn’t snarf up things like onion or garlic skins. He much prefers the juicier tidbits like beans, carrots, yams, or greens. And I seem to be getting lazier by the day. Dragging out the vacuum every time I cook is not part of the pleasure I take in preparing delicious and healthy meals.

Again I began dozing, but old monkey wouldn’t let go. I told myself I’d decide if I’d get one tomorrow, but remembered my friend, Jackie, telling me that she hates her Roomba.  When I asked her why, she told me, “It is difficult to use. There are too many buttons, I don’t understand the directions in the manual, and can’t get it to work.  I have to wait until my husband is around to help me and he makes fun of me, telling me I’m not a technologically capable person.”

As deep sleep finally started to take me away from all of that, I watched visions of my computer, my cell phone, my Kindle, and the iPad I finally gave away last year. I had too many gadgets that I didn’t really know how to use and never wanted to take the time to learn. There are other things I much prefer doing like taking long walks in nature, writing, reading, and making art.  Why waste my time trying to do things that don’t naturally fit into my life? 

Waking with a smile the next morning I knew that though having a Roomba was an entertaining thought, I really just wanted to keep my life simple. I’ll go back to the old way, depending on Max to take care of chopped food on the floor and use a broom and a dust pan for the rest.  They’re light weight, don’t use electricity, are quick to use, and don’t have any buttons to confuse me.


  1. Oh Joan, this is wonderful and all I can say is you are not alone. It’s so nice to hear your voice again. I try for digital detox, as much as I can, which really isn’t enough. We live in a technical world and sometimes the old-fashioned way seems so much better. At least I am surrounded by grandsons who can help me through!

    • Thank you, Kathy. It’s good to be back on my blog. Our Digital world makes me crazy at times and I can’t keep up with the changes that happen to the system on a daily basis. So I stick with the old ways and find peace in not having to keep up and prove myself to be up to date. It is very good to have grandkids nearby when things get tough though!

  2. Good plan, Joan. It’s quite amazing, isn’t it, how powerfully the mind can get us all in a tizzy. As for the Roomba, I have one and I’ve never known it to pick up anything larger than a speck of dust, which I then have to empty into the can, spreading escaping dust particles hither and yon. Of course we have the cheapest version. It was no match for Sasha’s dog hair either. It’s now in retirement in my office in town, used once a week for dust particles only.

    • Aha, another vote for keeping it simple, Janet. The other thing about the Roomba is its cost. Even the cheapest one isn’t that cheap.

  3. Joan — Like you, a good broom and dustpan are in my everyday list of helpful household items.

  4. You entertained me all the way through, Joan, commiserating and feeling empathy as I scanned each line. It sounds as though Charlottesville may be adopting a more European way of paying for parking. I remember how flummoxed we were about parking in Paris, London, and Rome with a centralized Park/Pay system. Your sentence sums up our dilemma: “A few youngsters ahead of me quickly caught on to the new system and rushed off to their appointments.” We have to remember we are digital immigrants living among digital natives – ha!

    Speaking of flummoxed: Yesterday I was scheduled for a podcast, my first ever. My friendly interviewer indicated we could connect by Skype or computer Facetime. I’ll spare you the agony of forsaking Skype, trying to download the Facetime app (which I already had!) and finally hitting the right button as if by magic. Of course, as I felt stressed for about 15 minutes, but my interviewer assured me she is a therapist and she lives by the slogan “patience and kindness.” Nevertheless, after the interview and all the entanglements I took a 2-hour nap.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. My reply includes a link to your book, which I hope readers will consider as a Christmas gift.

    • Oh Marian, you made my day. Thank you so much for the link to my booker for your readers.

      Like you needing a 2 hr. nap after your interview, I need the same kind of time to relax and restart my brain after something gets me confused and misunderstanding. We truly are digital immigrants in this crazy digital world.

      Thanks so much for delightful comment and I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season.