the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Roomba: The Life of the Party


I hate to promote a product when I don’t get it for free, but Sophia and I got her mother, Fanya,  a Roomba for her birthday.  If you don’t know what a Roomba is, it is an automatic vacuuming robot.  You turn it on, it moves all over the room or the house vacuuming, and then it returns to its charging base when done, and even chirps a little "song." 

Last night was the birthday party at Fanya’s apartment for  family members and friends.  Tons of Russian food and drink were consumed, toasts raised, even a video of a famous Russian opera singer was watched.  But it was the Roomba that stole the show.  Most of the guests had never seen such a curious machine.  Actually, I had never seen a Roomba myself.  

When you first turn it on, you expect it to go back and forth in straight lines, vacuuming in an organized manner.  Instead it seems to just go randomly around the room, maneuvering under sofas, bumping into furniture along the way, reading the room and figuring out the lay of the land.  Because the Roomba travels around in such an unpredictable manner, it takes on the qualities of a awkward pet, like a lovable little puppy. 

Last night, as the Roomba roamed around the living room,  everyone started following behind it, as if a Conga line was forming.  The line only dispersed when the Roomba suddenly changed "his" mind and started cleaning in another direction.  Everyone laughed as the Roomba repeatedly knocked against the bedroom door until "he" finally pushed it open and went in to clean inside.  Fanya even started calling the robot from the kitchen, telling it in Russian to "Come over here and clean the kitchen floor."  And you know what — eventually, it did.

Roomba was the life of the party — and he didn’t even touch the vodka.

I’m not the only one in love with a Roomba.   This father uses a Roomba to get his kids to go to sleep.  This blogger even made a movie about his Roomba.

Does the Roomba actually vacuum well?  I have no idea.  But I think I might just get one to keep me company at night.


  1. helen

    Roomba is jumping straight up to the No.1 spot on my wishlist aka ‘things I want when i strike lottery.’

  2. anne

    The line only dispersed when the Roomba suddenly changed “his” mind and started cleaning in another direction.
    Shouldn’t it be “her”?

  3. Mine is a Gin

    Oooooh, I want one! But is it like Daleks, foiled in it’s attempt to conquer the universe when it encounters stairs?

  4. Anne-Marie

    aren’t those things really expensive. i find its more effective just to take off my glasses so i cant see the dust on the floor.

  5. JordanBaker

    Buster on Arrested Development had an affair with his mother’s roomba after she fired the maid he was schtupping.

  6. AWE

    I bet it sucks. Sorry, had to.

  7. Pearl

    So… you plan to rumba with a Roomba, huh?

  8. M.A.

    Pearl stole my dance joke. How do you empty a roomba? Because when you vacuum with a regular vacuum cleaner, you have to empty it.

  9. Alissa

    I’ve always kind of wanted a Roomba, but I’m afraid my dog will chase it around the house barking. She’s kind of crazy like that. Instead I’m saving my money for a Dyson, I can’t help it, his accent gets me every time.

  10. Margo

    I used to have a Red Roomba, the cheap one that drunkenly vacuums till it just passes out where ever it’s batteries die, but with 2 dogs and a guinea pig, poor red worked himself to death in lees than 2 years, but I miss him.

  11. Neil

    To clean it, you open some hatch on the bottom.

    The Dyson is cool too.

    Am I becoming a vacuum cleaner expert here? I can’t believe I just wrote my SECOND post about vacuum cleaners!

    The rumors are true: You really can blog about anything.

  12. Trix

    I don’t know how well it vacuums, but it’s fabulous for scaring paranoid 100 pound labradors to death.

  13. Pauly D

    The Roomba is like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey — a friend of mine had one and when he went outside to get the mail the Roomba ran up against the front door and closed it, locking my friend outside (i.e. the pod bay doors) until that night when his wife could come home and let him in.

    I can only imagine what the Roomba did inside the house until my friend unlocked the door.

  14. cruisin-mom

    Does it bring you ice cream?

  15. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    You’re going to get a Roomba to keep you company at night??? Wouldn’t a girlfriend be more fun? (Just a thought)


  16. Won't tell

    No question: cool. But we prefer not to clean the floor – allows our daughter to forage for snacks. Yep, we foster independence.

  17. Kevin

    I wish I could get one on a trial period, just to enjoy in a non-Buster sense. But, with my luck, I’d be awoken in the middle of the night when it spontaneously turns itself on and tries to vacuum out my soul. Things like to spontaneously turn on in my house. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

  18. nan

    I’ve been looking to buy one. It is pretty expensive – around $300.00. You can get it cheaper though if you buy refurbished – about $170.00 or so.

  19. Bill

    I’m all for anything that does work for me. What kind of noise does this thing make? Does it sound like a construction site in motion or is it liveable?

  20. Alice

    i want one just so i can have a ROBOT. a functioning robot! how cool is that??

  21. Mik

    I think it would keep our rabbit and grand kids entertained.

    Be interested to know how noisy it is too.


  22. sarah

    funny, i thought at first roomba should be a she, too, then i said, f–k yeah roomba is a HE! HE should be vacuuming the place! haha! take that! the vacuum is a GUY!

    then i was like, wtf?!? it’s a vacuum.

  23. Neil

    It isn’t that noisy. Maybe 1/3 the sound of a regular vacuum.

    And why shouldn’t he be a guy? I’m not sexist!

  24. better safe than sorry

    that thing would completely freak out my dog.

  25. sara lee

    My brother-in-law has a Roomba…notice how I don’t say my sister…he is obsessed with it. He is a tech guy, so I think it satisfies the need for gadgets and it does do a remarkable job of vacuuming their hardwoods (not sure how it does on carpet). I personally am as afraid of it as their cat…it always seems to head for my feet and I think it wants to knock me down. Now that I have learned it is a guy…maybe I get why it keeps coming on to me! 😉

    Fun post Neil!

  26. JJ

    I need one I can train to follow my dog around the house.

  27. The Moviequill

    slap an eight inch curtain attachment on it and I think my wife will want one

  28. Jacynth

    Did you know that there is now a mopping one? It’s called the Scooba and you get it at Sharper Image. I’m getting scared.

  29. Freak Magnet

    I’d love a Roomba. Or a Dyson. Or both. Or two of each.

  30. YogaChickie

    I have a Dyson. It ROCKS. I hear from my folks that the Roomba is great, but I find it hard to believe. You can FEEL the Dyson working. But obviously, you just have to trust the little Roomba.

    Off topic, why spending so much time with Sophia? Is she no longer your ex?


  31. modigli

    I love it! Instead of having a pet you need to clean up after, you have a pet that cleans up after you! The perfect invention.

  32. bella

    now if it only played a really good dance mix, it could be the dj at the party, too.

  33. Rabbit

    The vacuum was the life of the party? That must have been one kickin’ party, Neil.

  34. miriam

    I want one! I want one!

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