Gaslit by Toddlers and Robots

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After my 3.5-year-old used the toilet and flushed, I instructed her to wash her hands.

“Why?” she said. “I didn’t touch anything.”

“You just touched the toilet handle,” I said.

She responded, without missing a beat: “It’s an automatic toilet.”

My overly confident child thought she could convince me that we have fancy, self-flushing toilets. I think I’d have noticed that nice perk!


Have you seen those self-cleaning public toilets? I first saw them installed on Seattle sidewalks.

It’s a single toilet inside a capsule. You insert a quarter, the door slides open, you do your business, and when you exit, hot water and bleach are blasted over every surface to disinfect it.

I’ve never used one myself, because I am terrified about getting stuck inside when the wash cycle kicks off.

But it’s a pretty ingenious way to keep an unsanitary place slightly more sanitary.

I need my house to do that each time I leave. Domesticity is not my cup of tea. I’m so not interested in dusting, mending, decorating, whatnot.

My parents were some of the hardest working people on the planet. They ran their own bakery, worked odd hours, raised five children, and always managed to keep the house clean with a fresh cooked meal on the table. How did this apple fall so far from the tree? I guess as a kid watching my parents work their asses off, I decided, “This is gonna have to skip a generation.”

I bought an expensive robot vacuum to outsource some of my work. Turns out, it does precisely the half-assed job I would have done. The sales pitch was that this state-of-the-art machine makes two passes over each section of floor, and if it discovers an especially dirty area, it will go around in a spiral until it has cleaned every last bit of mess off the floor. Yeah – not by a long shot!

Instead, it moves as though going through a corn maze, while blasting right on past crumbs and dirt. It’s like, “I didn’t see that.” Then, it keeps getting stuck under the edges of furniture, and there is nothing more pathetic than watching a flat, round robot panic: “Eh, eh, eh!” When it has decided that the job is done, it races back to its platform to empty and recharge.

I’m like, “Uh-uh! Where do you think you’re going?! You’re not done, Mister!”

(I realize I have already written a story about said robot, but it’s killing me that I was hornswoggled into paying hundreds of dollars for this thing!)

Did you know that a robot is on par with a three-year-old’s ability to gaslight others?

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