Friday, May 7, 2021

The Robot Vacuum as a Metaphor for The Way I Do Things: Painting the Dominoes

A couple of weeks ago I visited some friends who own one of those robot vacuums.  I guess I hadn't really seen one in action before.  Watching it, I was mesmerized by how totally random and chaotic it seemed.  It will bounce off of people, pets, chairs, walls...whatever crosses its path...and then just carry on in a totally different direction, as if that was its plan all along.  In due time the vacuum hits another obstacle and comes back again...and again...and again.  It seemed like madness, but I'll be gosh darned if the floor didn't get clean in the end. 

It made me realize that the way I do a lot things is uncannily like a robot vacuum.  It doesn't necessarily look very methodical at a glance, but it actually is, in its own way.  The seeming-chaos bit is part of the process that just makes sense or feels natural to me.  It is part of how the robot and I were both programmed, you might say.  

This metaphor came to me in conjunction with a domino project Matt and I have completed this past week.  

Trees on the campus green. 4/30/21

All the dots of our set of dominoes were black--from number one to number 12.  While at my aunt and uncle's place last month, they had a set where each number of dots came in a different color.  The color coding made it markedly easier to play and I realized that with a little bit of paint we could upgrade our plain set lickitysplit.  

Our painted dominoes in a heap after a game of Mexican Train.  5/5/21 
(The fact we were playing Mexican Train on Cinco de Mayo was not lost on us either.)

So, I got out the acrylics and got painting.  I started with the number four dominoes.  For no particular reason.  

When he joined me later with a second brush, Matt inquired why I didn't start with the ones and work my way up.  "You know, like counting?"

Tulips along the main walkway on campus. 5/6//21

I can honestly say:  It never occurred to me.  I just grabbed the one closest to me and got cracking.  I was going to have to do all of them anyway, so Fours seemed as good a place to start as any, I guess.

The apple tree is blooming.  5/5/21

I'm not sure what metaphor would be appropriate for Matt's MO.  Certainly not the robot vacuum.  Hmmm...probably something more like an archaeological survey.  He'd grid things off (mentally, if not actually) and then start at the top left and work his way across and down until he reached the bottom right.  He's systematic in a rather more obvious way.

Isn't it interesting how brains work in so many different ways?!  Thank heavens for that, too!  

Volunteer Violets in the garden path. 5/4/21

We've played with the newly colorful dominoes a dozen times or so now and they're a definite upgrade.  I'm curious to see how quickly we wear the paint off!  :)

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