Secret Battle

Last night, just before going to bed, I set our robotic vacuum to clean our downstairs rooms while we slept. Judging by the carnage I found in the living room at 6:30AM, I believe this is what happened:

Midway through cleaning the floor, having labored mightily, our robotic vacuum cleaner decided it had earned the privilege of taking a rest on our couch. No one having ever specifically told it this was not possible, and its mind made up, it made a beeline for the couch, along the way ignoring any obstacles.

In doing so, it became entangled in two plushies and a large sheet of coloring paper. Undaunted, our little hero went for broke, ignoring its new entourage and continuing its quest as best it could. As it went, its cargo upended a number of toys that had been leaned against a chair by our five-year-old while he was “cleaning” to prepare for the robot’s activities. This resulted in a light saber and a wrapping paper tube joining the entourage, pointing forward like knight’s lances

After arriving at the couch, it bravely took the challenge head-on, attempting to trundle directly up the side. This seems to have worked for a while, until its wheels caught the blanket that was lying on the couch. Tirelessly, it reeled the entire blanket off the couch, somehow causing the tail end to flip over the light-saber and wrapping paper tube, and trapping itself in a tent of its own making.

At this point, the robot must have panicked and made a last scramble to try to surmount its goal. This was unsuccessful. It must have managed to get it’s flat little chassis nearly perpendicular to the ground before learning twin lessons about gravity and friction, to wit: A) With gravity stubbornly refusing, as it will, to change directions such that the couch would become its new down, B) Its wheels had no force pressing them against their new driving surface, which decreased their friction with that surface to approximately nothing.

I’m not sure, at this point, if its battery died suddenly, causing it to jounce sideward, or if its continuing struggles caused it to tilt slightly, but at any rate, our tiny protagonist next discovered not only that round things roll, but also that its entire back end is approximately circular. It proceeded to roll sideways off the pile of blanket it was now situated atop and across the face of the couch, and then tumble into the crevice between the couch and our son’s Disney desk, twisting the blanket and toys around it as it went.

And so, in the early morning light, my befuddled brain saw a weird twisted nest-thing sprouting out of that crevice, encrusted with stuffed animals and paper and with a turned-on light-saber thrusting right out of the middle. On examination, I discovered the now-dead robot swaddled in the middle, toys and paper jammed in its brushes. I was non-plussed, to say the least…

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