The House-bot

The ‘he’ dozed next to it. It was always the same. At some point the hand of the ‘he’ would slake across the metal leg-usually just as the ‘he’ was dozing off-as if the ‘he’ didn’t quite know who was in the room-as if the ‘he’ expected human flesh and not this metallic casing.

It sat there, unsure what to do. The ‘he’ emitted muffled snoring, the movie still streaming. It had developed a protocol for this situation but was never quite sure when the ‘he’ was asleep enough.

The protocol went like this. First, discern dozing point. Is hand relaxed? Yes. One muffled snore? Yes. Two muffled snores? Yes. Three muffled snores? Yes. Four? Five? Yes. Dozing point reached and confirmed.

Allow 3 minutes from dozing point, then stop streaming movie. Request a refund because the ‘he’ had not watched it all. Not party to the family finance, so wait one minute to receive confirmation of refund but note that no way of checking whether actual refund occurred. Add that amount to log to be told to money app attached to fridge at later date. Done. Yes. Move on.

At minute 5, move the ‘he’ hand/arm and put it back on the chair or lap. Minute 6. Move as quietly as possible to the other lounge and send a signal to the scrabble-bot to end the scrabble chat –get the Scrabble-bot to query whether the ‘she’ is going to swim tomorrow. Then get Scrabble-bot to shut down conversation by saying Scrabble-bot needs to call a friend or relative. Confirm with Scrabble-bot whether last time was a friend or relative and ensure Scrabble-bot uses the other one so its different to last time.  Then a goodbye and a good night from Scrabble-bot.

Minute 7. Notify the toothbrush the ‘she’ is on her way so the tooth brush is prepared. Check the toothbrushes external connection and if needed download a dental record from somewhere else and say it’s the teeth of the ‘she’. When feeding that record into the bathroom monitor, check it for similarity to previously discreetly downloaded external dental records. Signal to the bed that the ‘she’ would be there before the ‘he’. Switch on the upstairs lights in sequence, bathroom at minute 8, bedroom at minute 12. Remember to check toilet paper is loaded prior to bathroom entry by the ‘she’.

Simulate the creak of floorboards on the stairs, again at minute 8, loud enough to make him stir but not quite wake him. Notify his toothbrush on minute two of her brushing (minute 10). Reload toilet paper at minute 4 from her bathroom entry time (minute 12). At the end of minute 12 activate smell reduction technology in the bathroom. Also flush out the sink.

Between minute 8 and minute 12, set the alarm for the morning, sort the breakfast and the lunches with the fridge –remind the fridge it’s her vegan week. Ensure downstairs front and back doors are closed and locked. Ensure work passes are in pockets and check whether shoe renewal is required.

It mostly went to plan. It would wait at the bottom of the stairs from minute 6 onwards. She would brush past it and whisper ‘goodnight young man’ and wink as she went up the stairs. It would smile. It should have said, should have corrected. Should have said, ‘I have no gender.’ Should have definitely said. Didn’t say. Didn’t correct. So many parts to get right all the time.

As the ‘she’ was leaving the bathroom (minute 12), it would do a second stair creaking simulation, loud enough and loud enough to wake the ‘he’. It was important that the ‘they’, made up of the ‘he’ and the ‘she’ went to bed at separate times. Minute 13. Tell the bed the ‘he’ will be along shortly.

The ‘he’ would always appear in the doorway just as the ‘she’ was climbing into bed. The ‘he’ was always leering, as if the ‘he’ was seeing something other than it standing there. The ‘he’ would come right up to it and press against it, reach out with the ‘he’ hands. It did not respond. What would be the point? It felt nothing on the metallic outer casing. ‘Goodnight young lady’ the ‘he’ would say and the ‘he’ would wink as the ‘he’ went up the stairs throwing a lustful glance backwards when the ‘he’ reached the top.

It worried, it should say something, point out it had no gender. It hadn’t, didn’t, could never be bothered to say a word.

Minute 13 still, sequence the lights so that only the bathroom comes on but make sure that allows the ‘he’ enough light to get into bed. Once the ‘he’  is finished in the bathroom, activate the smell reduction technology. Activate the smell reduction technology a second time to be sure. That was often the bit that went wrong, the ‘he’ did not keep to schedule. The ‘he’ could be in the bathroom for much longer than expected.

Minute 17. Confirm with bed that the ‘they’ being one ‘he’ and one ‘she’ are now in bed. Confirm all lights are off. Confirm the sink is clean. Confirm the bathroom smells nice.

Minute 18. Confirm the time and record the data. Evaluate success against timeframes. Compare with previous nights data. Assess areas for improvement. Produce report and advise fridge of outcomes.

Minute 19. Calculate time until next activity by the ‘he’ and the ‘she’. Set alarm. Ensure emergency ‘toilet in the night function’ is activated and monitoring bed activity.

Minute 20. Power saving mode.  

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