Have to believe we are magic

And nothing will stand in our way

~ Magic, Olivia Newton John


The first time I danced with Wilson I videotaped it because, at the time, I wondered if I had just stumbled across my life’s epiphany. In an indirect but clear manner – that I would later label the Wilson way – he revealed to me that I had wasted hours of effort over almost forty years on a task that relayed no real self-improvement, that developed little in the way of skill despite almost daily repetition, and that was a constant mental affliction; a rolling hour-to-hour hindrance to joy.

It was Wilson’s insistence on my relinquishing the task that awakened my first true feelings for him. It seemed almost impossible – a kind of insanity – but his assurance was compelling; his energy and vision was intoxicating. Even now, with all that’s happened between us, and how things have turned out, I still think back on those early days and catch my breath.

Those hours I was to gain in relinquishing the task were lost in that first day we spent together. Although I tried, I couldn’t look away. Wilson navigated our long hallway with unparalleled confidence and care, he managed its twists and turns and sharp corners and different sized rooms as if he’d had a hand in its very creation.  The fixed objects, and those that fell into his path randomly from one day to the next, were met and with a gentle, persistent consistency.

As my infatuation became more manageable we settled into a routine that I naively thought would last forever. I would sit at the kitchen table with my laptop, passing my life’s story from one screen to many screens, as he licked at my hard wood floors, tasting and erasing and tasting again… Oh, the intensity of his sweeping brush!

The words came easy under the stimulating roar of his engine. At our best I would follow his lead, and roar with him, to create the most amazing falsetto. People who chanced upon it – even Foxtel door-knockers and teenage Mormons – would break down and weep.

I remember when Wilson first bumped at my feet, backed away, and made the subtlest adjustments to move around me – his shimmy and shake was like a wink from Fred Astaire. I jumped and giggled that first time! But from then on I would smile in the anticipation of his gentle nudging, and sigh into another smile as he moved away.

I know I should be grateful; some people are never offered the chance at true love. I have been offered it twice. But all that early magic is gone now. In its place is a perpetual longing. I wake and I sleep. I have no present-day purpose. I find my only solace in things that have passed.

The days became weeks and then months and there was not a thought in my mind that something as horrible as this would occur. I was – looking back – blissfully naïve; secure in the aura that Wilson brought with him. I believed it was magic, that nothing would stand in our way.

I first noticed something was wrong Friday December 21, 2012. Wilson was whirring across the floorboards as usual but I could detect greater effort in the roar of his motor. It was after he’d returned to his charging base, recharged his battery, and started on his second sweep of the floor that I was forced to pay closer attention.

He nudged at my feet as usual, but when he pulled back to navigate his way around, the ability to make those subtle adjustments was gone. His motor fell quiet and the seconds seemed to roll into years as I waited for the terrible beeping that would confirm something was desperately wrong.

I leapt beneath the table to see the soft glow of his LCD Control Center screen. My heart stopped when I read, My left wheel is stuck, please clear it of debris.

neato-robotics-vacuum-loves-RD_copyI lifted him gently from the floor and turned him over. I cleared his left wheel. Turned him on and off again and wrapped him in a blanket to ease his shivering. When I placed him back on the floor he whirred back in to a full roar. I was relieved but a nagging concern lingered.

Two nights later, I caressed his On/Off switch and took my usual position at the table. The roar came and when I lifted my gaze from the computer screen, nonchalantly, I saw him there – my once confidant, assured Wilson – doing circle work, glued to the spot by that lame left wheel.

Wilson!’ I screamed, running to him as his motor stopped once again. The beeping filled me with horror. I spent the entire night working on him. Prodding, pushing, oiling, pleading until finally I lifted him gently, walked down the long hallway he had cleaned so often, placed him in our bed, looked once more into the gentle glare of his LCD screen and turned him off.

I made the necessary calls with only the faintest glimmer of hope. I think I had resigned myself to the reality of the situation – that Wilson was gone, that I would have to get off my lazy arse and push around the fucking Dyson again, for several weeks at least.

I will be sent another Neato Robotic Vacuum but it won’t be Wilson. Even if it’s the latest model with bright new colours and a more streamlined design it will never replace him. Wilson will always be my first.

They don’t offer funerals for robots. (I know, I rang around.) So this post is a final farewell and tribute to one of my most cherished friends. Farewell sweet Wilson. I love you.


Our Life Together In Pictures And Film


Catching Some Z’s Under A Tree



We Shared Similar Fitness Goals



Nudging At My Feet. Cheeky Devil



Watching Footy Together. Go Cats!



Sexually, We Were A Perfect Match



Night Time Bliss. Spooning With Wilson


Our First Dance Video.

(The four extra hours of footage are for our personal library only)

An Unlikely Love Story