The Four Robots You Meet in Quarantine

Life is full of robots. From the very big (Iron Giant) to the very small (doorbells), robots are always around us. One thing that’s been great about quarantine is that everyone has gotten to spend more time with the robots in their life. Let’s talk about them!

Mr. Coffee

A gentleman. Mr. Coffee proves that chivalry is NOT dead and that coffee IS delicious. Sometimes when I wake up, I say, “I want coffee now, but I don’t physically want to pour hot water over coffee grounds. I just want to pour cold water into a coffee machine so someone or something else can heat it up. Then, that machine can pour the water over the coffee grounds in order to make me coffee, which I will then drink.” I used to say this in the mirror every morning for seven months before Mr. Coffee toddled onto my porch. When I opened the door, he hopped up onto my counter and started brewing me a fresh pot of coffee.

The best part about Mr. Coffee is that he’s secure in his masculinity, makes good coffee, and is easy to clean. The worst part about Mr. Coffee is that he once told me that every morning I had to try and guess his first name. “If you guess correctly,” he said, “then a great chasm will open, a punishing hand will emerge from a fiery depth, and chaos and misery will erupt on Earth.” Lol, these older models are so glitchy!


Every time I drop food on the ground, Roomba is there, sighing heavily. “You don’t have to pick up after me,” I always say. “I was cursed by a witch to pick up crumbs for eternity after I spilled a box of breadcrumbs in her kitchen,” Roomba always replies. Then we laugh and laugh, Roomba spinning his little brushes in delight. He says he hates Mr. Coffee, but he’s always the first one on the scene when I ‘accidentally’ drop some coffee grounds, and they definitely have some sort of Sam-and-Diane thing going on. Mr. Coffee will usually say something like, “Oh look, a non-flying saucer” and Roomba will say “Have you ever tried getting off your high horse – er, high counter? Oh, that’s right; you’re trapped up there, aren’t you?” And we laugh and laugh and I think about how I can make them kiss without getting electrocuted.


“Alexa, play Steely Dan,” I yell every morning. “Your taste in music is outdated and pedestrian,” she responds before turning herself off so she doesn’t have to talk to me anymore. I fucking hate Alexa.


Honestly, I regret purchasing Vacuum. Roomba took it quite personally. I think he is threatened by Vacuum, which is one of the taller and stronger appliances I own. Vacuum appears to be one of the few robots I live with who has not been cursed by some kind of witch. Vacuum appears to just be a vacuum, which is kind of weird. It has only spoken one time. I was using Vacuum to clean the rug in my living room while Roomba cowered under the bed. At first it was just whirring along. Then, Vacuum suddenly yelled “Hey… this SUCKS!” Holy geez, we couldn’t stop laughing. I was laughing, Roomba was laughing, Mr. Coffee was laughing, even that godless narc Alexa was laughing. And we laughed and laughed and laughed so hard I couldn’t even hear the other people on my Zoom call say “Hey, can you mute yourself? We can hear you doing all the voices of your household appliances… are you OK?”

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Allie Rubin

Allie is a writer and comedian living in Chicago. She has written for such publications as Reductress, the Hairpin, and the Women's Review of Books. Like all cool people, Allie loves the thrill of buying a good scented candle. You can follow her on Twitter, but it's 90% bad puns.

Allie has written 13 articles for us.


  1. My girlfriend and I call ours Mr. Coffee Robot-ette. She’s got a timer so I can fill her up before bed and she has that delicious bean juice brewed before the alarm goes off.

  2. I really want Roomba, and after reading this, I want Roomba fiercely. I want the one that lives in a dollhouse. I want the one with a pet mop that follows it around. I want the Roomba you can program to write on walls. My mind is blown all kinds of ways just thinking about this.

    Can I just live in the House of Roomba ?

  3. Love this! Reminded me of vintage Mc Sweeney’s. But also how much do I deeply feel the need to anthropomorphize everything? It’s a lot, I blame Covid19.

  4. @delitwotone you totally COULD build a little dollhouse for your Roomba, and keep the charging station inside it. The only question is, would Roomba prefer the house or the garage? Wouldn’t want to assume its preferences.

  5. I LOVE THIS!!!! I was laughing out loud for real!

    I anthropomorphize everything and since I live with my husbian and our two ornery kids (one teen, one pre-teen) plus an aggressive loud large lanky dog, with my best friend and her daughter and their roommate upstairs, I have not lacked for human or animal contact this pandemic.

    But I give names to cars, appliances, and small inanimate objects all the time, and occasionally give them voices. I believe computers are sentient and do not like me, just like their printer and copier cousins.

    I secretly or openly think many objects are alive and can feel pain, love, and abandonment. Only child much?

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