I couldn’t believe it was actually going to happen. Rosey the Robot was finally coming to life.
If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the old cartoon series The Jetsons. There was George and Jane Jetson and their children Elroy and Judy, and one of my favourite characters on the series, Rosey, their personal robot maid.
I loved Rosey. She was like a sassy, no-nonsense aunt. “Beep! Beep! I may be homely, buster, but I am s-m-a-r-t, smart! Beep! Beep!” She didn’t take any baloney from anyone. But boy, could she clean their space house!
I always wanted a Rosey of my own. Who wouldn’t?
So when Amazon announced its new home robot Astro, I was beside myself with excitement. Finally! My own personal housecleaner.
I was imagining all of the things I would never have to do again. Scrub the toilet. Wash the kitchen floor. Dust and vacuum. Maybe Astro would even make my bed and prepare my favourite dinner. Wow.
I decided to watch Amazon’s introductory video, announcing Astro.
“What are we going to do with a robot?” the lady in the video asks her husband. Are you kidding me? I said that out loud. Housecleaning as we know it is now over!
“Astro, follow me,” the husband says.
I watched with great anticipation. Was he going to give Astro a toilet brush and put him right to work?
Astro followed him. Okay, so you can command him to follow you. Sort of like a dog.
That lead to another scene with a little girl talking to her grandmother through Astro’s video screen face.
I started wondering if the exciting stuff was still to come.
In yet another scene, a guy sitting on a park bench used his phone to give Astro the command to check and make sure that he turned the stove off at home.
Astro can relay text messages, re-charge itself, check the house for intruders, and play and dance to music. So basically a video camera that moves. And can catch a raccoon stealing your cupcakes.
At the very end, Astro brings the woman a beer on its tiny platter, and she declares “Alright, I’m in!”
Well, I’m not.
I already have a video doorbell. I can video chat with anyone I want using my phone or my tablet. And if I’ve accidently left the stove on, the fire department will surely let me know. As they’re dousing the flames.
I also have a man servant to bring me my wine. Begrudgingly, perhaps, but he’ll do it if I ask nicely.
I want a robot that can do the real work!
Who created Astro anyway? Let’s see. It can follow you like your dog, re-charge itself and bring you a beer. Was it a MAN?
Something I saw recently was an extract from a 1950s home economics book called Tips To Look After Your Husband. It’s filled with eye rolling suggestions for wives, like having dinner ready when he gets home. Preparing yourself and your children so you are presentable to him. Clearing away the clutter.
At the end of the article, it says “Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.” Cue another eye roll.
I have an idea. Let’s change that to “Your home robot will make your house a place of peace and order when you can renew yourself in body and spirit.” And instead of Astro, we’ll call our robot Rosey.
Alright, I’m in!
Irene Jackson is a guitar teacher, musician and general writer “wanna-be” living in the beautiful city of Victoria, B.C. Her website is at irenejackson.com.