My employer deployed an autonomous robotic mower to the front lawn of my building this week. It’s like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, but with considerably worse collision consequences for sleeping cats. I think it’s awesome, though not just for that reason.
If you know me at all, then you know I despise mowing more than anything else in this world. It’s my dad’s fault. When I was young, he tasked me with “maintaining” the outer perimeter of our country homestead, an embittered half-acre of thistle and rock-strewn earth in Southeastern Idaho. To maximize the misery, I had to use a decrepit push mower that wouldn’t start unless I injected gasoline directly into its carburetor and then verbally berated it using words that would later become popularized in 90’s rap songs.
Exasperated, I would then spend the next several hours enveloped in a cloud of dust and flames while the mower violently whirled thistle needles and shards of gravel into my lower extremities. It was awful and did not make me a better man like he promised.
My only solace back then was believing I’d one day live in a world where I’d never have to mow again. I planned to accomplish this by having children of my own. Then I did and every single one of them developed severe grass allergies as soon as they got strong enough to push the mower, which is only infuriating because I didn’t think of that myself when I was their age. Instead, I repeatedly tried ineffective excuses like “we’re out of bandages” and “the mower’s on fire again.”
Meanwhile, while I was dreaming about growing up and making remarkable children, someone else was dreaming about growing up and making an autonomous robotic mower. Now I can have both. Finally.
Originally posted on Medium.