YOU - sept 2022 - life in a nutshell2.jpg

I will be the first to admit I am not on the cutting edge when it comes to anything to do with technology.  My email addresses for personal and work are both AOL.  I still own VHS tapes (although my VHS player bit the dust some years ago.)  I was even sad when my current car didn’t come with a CD player.  I gave up wearing my Smart Watch because, let’s face it, I didn’t appreciate something smarter than me talking to me all day long in her snooty voice claiming loudly to all around that she didn’t understand my Texan slang…even though I wasn’t even talking to her!  I mean if the truth were told I would still use a flip phone if my teenage daughter, Dotty, wouldn’t be completely mortified. 

However, while on my social media break, I developed the bad habit of shopping online (dang those apps on the phone…another reason to

go back to the flip phone!)  While shopping, I decided I needed to up my tech game.  I made several purchases for my home, especially.  I bought a home security system, dusk to dawn outdoor lighting, an Echo Dot, and a robot vacuum cleaner.  My neighbor even helped me out with the purchase (and installation) of an automatic thermostat and a programmable light switch for my front porch.  By the end of June, I was expecting George and Jane Jetson to show up on my doorstep or at the very least Rosie to swing by to give my robot vacuum cleaner a once over. 


While all of these purchases have brought me joy and satisfaction, the robot vacuum cleaner has also brought some humor and introspection into my world.  To begin, just turning it on sent my cat, Rae, up into the rafters.  I seriously have never seen our cat move so fast and it took a good hour for me to find her hiding spot (after I finally stopped laughing.)  Even after several weeks of cohabitating, Rae is still not a fan of the little spaceship that runs around our house beeping and sweeping as it goes. 


One night when I was still media free and decided to give my credit card a break, I chose to enjoy just resting in the boredom of the evening.  It was too hot to do anything outside (by the way Texas weather…there are temps below 100 if you would like to revisit those someday soon) and I was tired of reading, so I sat in my chair and watched the robot vacuum cleaner do its job.  Now my device is not the highest end of the makes and models when it comes to robotic vacuum cleaners, but is about middle of the road, I would say.  Still I noticed several things that caught my interest…


  1. It bumps into a lot of things often and repeatedly.

  2. It picks up everything in its path and pulls it inside.

  3. It likes to get stuck in weird places.

  4. It needs to be cleaned out when it gets full or the filter gets clogged from all the cat hair (Rae seems to be shedding more these days…possibly from stress.)

  5. It needs to recharge after use.


As I sat there amused, and dare I say critical, of the machine that had been entertaining my thoughts for probably longer than it should have, I realized I also suffer from these issues as well.


Bumping Along: 

I too bump into things on a regular basis.  Not necessarily physically like the vacuum (although my 2am trips to the bathroom have left a few bruises) but rather metaphorically speaking.  I know there are issues, people, and events I just can’t seem to avoid no matter how impassable they may be.  I continue to run into them time and time again in hopes, I guess, my experience will be different…but often it is not.  Instead of just avoiding it all together, I find myself headed straight for what I know will be the same result…bump…bump…bump.  The truth of the matter is the only thing I can change is me…or the path I take.  And another truth is, in most of the situations when it comes to the impact of the bump, I am the only one who feels it.  So why do I continue to bump into it all?  Good question.  Maybe I can consult my internal owner’s manual and get some insight. 


Clean Sweep:

When I noticed the vacuum cleaner picked up everything in its path, I realized how I pick up things that I don’t really need to keep inside me.  Things like…other people’s opinions or actions, the past that finds ways to sneak into the present, my 15-year-old’s attitude, the weather, the test results, the future, etc.  So much of this and more I know I will “roll over” in a day, but so much of it I can just “roll past” without letting it get inside me and affect me. All of these are things beyond my control to an extent and taking them in just to worry about them serves me no purpose…and probably clogs a filter like an artery, too!


Help!  I’m Stuck:

One night I heard the vacuum beeping but couldn’t find it anywhere.  I looked under beds, couches, and chairs.  I looked behind tables and lamps and all the shoes piled up on Dotty’s bedroom floor.  Finally, I noticed Dotty’s bathroom door was shut.  When I went to open it the door was stuck.  With some effort to push it open without breaking it, I noticed a rug and a stool were pushed up against the door and sink cabinets.  This was all odd since I was home alone and had not been in the bathroom.  But then I heard the beep.  Without breaking the door down, I managed to push everything back enough to squeeze in the door opening and thus retrieve the vacuum and put everything back where it belonged.  This made me wonder how often I barricade myself in isolation from friends and family.  I am an introvert at heart, but also I tend to push people away when I get hurt or feel too vulnerable.  It is easier for me to hide away than it is to face my feelings or difficult conversations and I can get stuck there if I let myself.  I forget I don’t have a noticeable “beep” to let people know I am stuck…or do I?


Dumping Allowed:

My month long social media break did my mind, heart, and soul some good.  I discovered I was so inundated with information all day long as a result of my mindless scrolling through Facebook and Instagram that I often had no room left for the things I valued the most.  What I realized is I need to occasionally “clean out” my schedule and feeds and subsequently “dump” some things that are just “clogging” my brain and emotional bandwidth.  It’s healthy and good to get rid of anything bogging me down.  Plus, if the makers of social media apps had the bright ideas to make buttons like “unfollow,” “snooze for 30 days,” and “take a break” as options, I feel confident they fully expected us to use them.  Even the “unfriend” button is my new friend!  And I have yet to have anyone upset (or even realize much less care) how I have personally dumped things in my social media world.  


Low Batteries:

Just like the robot vacuum, my batteries get worn down on a regular basis.  I need sleep and all matters of rest to be ready to go again to face new days, challenges, and opportunities.  Often I have been known to push through exhaustion to get the job done.  I have let my mental and physical health suffer in an effort to get to the end of a project or season at work.  Usually the result is I don’t do myself or others any favors when I do this.  I know my attitude is subpar in these situations but also my output is as well.  And most times I end up crashing at some point in the waiting room of a sick time office when my body has just had enough and starts to shut down.  Prioritizing rest is so important.  As I head into the busiest time of my work seasons I hope I remember to power down when my batteries get low.  If not, I hope I know where my health insurance card is.   


It’s funny how so many life lessons can be learned from a tiny robot vacuum.  Or maybe I am just funny in how I look at things.  Either way, every time I turn on my robot vacuum it reminds me to pause and reflect.  It also makes me ask the question, “Where’s Rae?”  I have no doubts she too has some insights on the new vacuum.  Rae is not as appreciative of the tech upgrades as I am…cats are like that. 

Robot Reflections
by Jill Montz