I take it all back. Every last word. I’m sorry it took a global pandemic for me to realize this, but, Roomba, you’re the closest thing to a friend I’ve got. And because of that I want to apologize for all the times I’ve snapped at you.

I mean, who really cares that even after six hours of rolling around my 400 square-foot apartment there’s still crumbs and dust and dog-hair everywhere, and I don’t even have a dog? Seriously, what does it matter that you’ve permanently damaged the legs of my great grandfather’s antique armoire, the one he built with his bare hands? I know I said it was priceless, but let’s face it, that was before I knew what priceless really meant. Of course, it did happen to be the lone possession my great grandmother was able to hold on to after he perished at the Battle of Stalingrad… But, that’s beside the point.

Who cares that you wake me up in the middle of the night because your clock is stuck on Bangladeshi Standard Time instead of EST? I want you to know that it’s water under the bridge, just like all those times you’ve lodged yourself under my couch, even that time you overheated under there and almost set my apartment on fire. It was nothing a little flame-retardant blanket couldn’t solve, right? Though, I do suppose there are the lasting effects of the smoke inhalation and breathing all that burnt hair—again, no dog, so not sure what that’s about—but hey, my unemployment insurance covers almost 17% of my monthly inhaler costs, and training for that marathon was probably a dumb idea anyway.

The point is, I want to move past all those stubbed toes and twisted ankles, even the time I stepped on you, accidentally activated some turbo feature that catapulted me into my kitchen counter, knocking out my bottom left incisor and leaving me with a permanent tic in my left eye. On the bright side, I’ll never get in trouble for accidentally winking at someone again… and one less possible cavity, am I right, buddy?

Plus, let’s be honest, I’m not blameless. I haven’t always been the greatest of friends to you, either. And for that I want to apologize. Specifically, for that time I hucked you into the living room wall and then forced you to clean up the shrapnel. Well, not really clean up, I of course did that with a broom and a dustpan, but you did help spread the plaster all around the apartment for me. That was mighty big of you.

Which reminds me of some of my not-so big moments, like that time you tore through my brand-new slippers, so I subjected you to that 30-minute infomercial for the Dyson Power Vac. I’m not proud of that one, even if that son of bitch really does never lose suction… Regardless, it was petty of me. And, yes, I also want to apologize for that time I dangled you out of my third-floor window like some Michael Jackson impersonator. I swear, just like Michael, I had almost zero intentions of actually dropping you.

I guess, what I want to say is that… I miss you. And it’s not just because I haven’t seen another human soul in 167 days. It’s because I’ve grown fond of our relationship: from the hum of your motor when you get caught on that welcome mat that, despite your top of the line artificial intelligence features, you just can’t remember the location of; to the feeling of your bristles tickling my toes while I’m trying to drop a quick twosie before final Jeopardy starts; to even the scuff marks you leave along the base of my wall each day. Staring at them now reminds me of all the good times we’ve had together… and hopefully those still yet to come.

I miss you, Roomba, please come back to me.

Kevin G. Wilkinson

P.S. If you happen to see my AirPods wherever it is you’re hiding, would you mind grabbing those? I owe them an apology as well.