April 22, 2014

NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR MOTHER DID:

This Bot Does Windows (Seth Stevenson, 4/21/14, Slate)

Cleaning windows is so arduous and dangerous that it earned its own 20th-century catchphrase. "I don't do windows"--a warning that the speaker may be desperate but still has limits--was a frequent sitcom one-liner in the '70s. The meme grew popular enough that, according to William Safire, it likely spawned the entire "I don't do [mornings/Mondays/etc.]" phrasal construction.

How miserable is the chore? I'll let country songsmith Hank Cochran answer. In the 1980 ditty "I Don't Do Windows," he equated scrubbing panes with eternal damnation: "There's some things that I just won't do. I think it's time that I told them to you. I don't do windows and I won't go to hell for you."

My own windows are a source of mild shame. Anyone in the building across the way can observe how flecked with schmutz they've become. I haven't cleaned their exteriors since I moved in a couple of years ago. Partly that's because I'm lazy (as evidenced by the fact that I haven't cleaned their interiors either), but partly it's because to do so I'd need to wager life and limb by dangling out over a four-story drop.

Thus I was excited to borrow a Winbot--a robot that pledges to polish your windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces without you rigging up a harness and going all human fly. This compact, square droid will vacuum-attach itself to a pane and then scuttle around squeegeeing off all the muck it encounters.

Posted by at April 22, 2014 5:30 AM
  

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