When I was thirteen or fourteen, I went into a hormonal rage and pulled all the shelves in my room down. In about two minutes everything was chaos on the floor -- books, toys, knickknacks, everything. And I stood there, sort of shocked, and then I started picking it up. Some things were broken, but I swept them up and kept going. I don't remember how long it took, but I remember how the violence and the drama did not make me feel better in any way, but the slow methodical work did. And the sky opened up and a beam of light on my forehead and the voice of clarity and reason, so rarely heard by the pubescent: now you know how to calm yourself.
And now I am thirty years older, and I have been cleaning my home and other people's houses for most of that time. It's a thing I can do, dishes and dusting and floors, and it's usually soothing. Plus when you clean other people's houses they pay you, either in money or free accommodations and food, a range of delicious treats in exchange for you doing what you'd do at home anyway, haha. And I did always clean at home, too, for the meditation of it, and the feeling of calm from everything being where it belongs. Except I lived for a long time with people who did not care if it was clean, and you're allowed to not care, I'm sure it makes life much easier, but it makes cleaning up after you kind of a pain. Also my knees started to go weird, locking up, which didn't make kneeling and scrubbing any fun.
So five years ago I got a housekeeper, a teenage girl who came once a week and dusted and mopped and scrubbed. And she did not do the work as well as I did, because for one thing you cannot get a floor clean with a mop, you get a floor clean on your hands and knees, ffs, Yes I know. But she did it every week and she did it without complaining, which in some ways reminded me of my teenage self, and she was pleasant and she didn't want to be my friend, she just came and did it and got paid and left. Then she went to college, which was the worst.
I have some ideas in here about hiring people to do menial labor, and about privilege etc., which I think I dodged by hiring a teenager, but it was on my mind.
For two years I tried to find another housekeeper, and it was just ridiculous. One who told me the house was a mess (uhm, nope) and so it would be hard to clean; one who talked and talked and talked at me so I couldn't work while she was here, which I thought: shouldn't we... both be working?; one who smelled like cat piss and mold. I did not find another teenager and I did not enjoy the dialogues in my head. So finally Squire and I have been doing the weekly cleaning together, I do the standing parts and he does the kneeling parts, it's not FUN but it helps to feel like I'm not alone and I don't feel weird about it and we get it done and whatever, it's a couple hours. But the cat hair, my god. There is one cat, and she sheds a kitten per room per week.
So we bought a floorbot. My sister's is named Benson so I named this one Stevens because he is also a butler (I was thinking of Miss Kenton, which is more correct, taskwise, but I just couldn't see Emma Thompson in his shiny black morning coat). He is tiny, he cleans one room and then runs out of energy and has to be recharged, so I have to pace him. It is a funny new addition. It is interesting to have watched so many programs about robots in the last year and then find myself behaving exactly as those silly humans, assigning emotions and personality to an object. I mean this is a cheap version, I don't think it even has a memory, which as Deckard will tell you is what separates the roombas from the replicants. But anyway: Stevens. New member of the household.
Well you said you wanted something a little less... sad. And I'm trying, I am. Though the fact that I named my floorbot after the butler who could talk about anything except his feelings instead of, say, Wadsworth, is not lost on me.