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“No relationship is perfect.” Time has passed this mantra from our parents’ lips, to magazine articles, to rom-coms, to where it finally landed today within inspiring Instagram posts and relationship sexperts’ personal bios on Twitter. And yet, we still try our best to make sure the world sees it that way – like our relationship is as rich as Kylie Jenner, as beautiful as a freshly baked croissant, and as fulfilling as a three-hour Saturday afternoon nap when you had nothing going on anyway.
My relationship is not that way at all. In fact, I recently came to the stark realization that my boyfriend has been in a committed relationship with another woman long before he started dating me. He still carries her, and the feelings he has for her, to this day. Her name is Monica. And she’s his robot vacuum. And I hate her.
The robot vacuum’s name is Monica because “she sucks up everything in her path.” And if you haven’t connected the dots yet, it’s an ode to the late-Lewinsky. My boyfriend thinks he should be a stand-up comedian for coming up with the name. I told him he’s more the large-ego’d drunk in the first row that calls out profanities to the comic on stage. He said he still takes that as a compliment. But I digress.
The reason I hate the robot vacuum so much is because she is more annoying than she is helpful. When I’m not traveling for work, I work from home; meaning my days are filled with emails in silence and conference calls on speaker. I can speak from the heart when I say there is nothing more annoying than hopping on the phone with a client SVP and having that stupid “do-do-do-do-do-DO” ringtone go off on the fucking thing, indicating that she’s ready for her daily-scheduled suck. Then, I have to half-make some joke about Monica, the white middle-aged men on the phone pretend to laugh to “relate to the millennial,” and everyone is left with a grieving sense of awkwardness. Rinse and repeat.
When I’m not on a call and Monica does go off, she follows me around like a male penguin during mating season. I’m working at my make-shift standing desk, minding my own business, when she comes rolling into the room like a Lenin-era tank and starts gnawing at my ankle like the fucking subway rat she is. I then have to pick her up (bitch is not light) and drag her ass back to the bedroom where her “home” station is and slam the door. Fifteen minutes later, she’s at it once more. This time hitting herself into the door or a wall again and again and again. The only thing I can compare it to while still being politically correct is that GIF of Mike “The Situation” banging his head against a wall in Italy during a fight with Ronnie on Jersey Shore.
Monica being, well, Monica, also gets herself stuck in sticky situations and places. She gets deep underneath the bed or the couch and can’t get herself out. Or she sucks up too much carpet and chokes. When Monica gets in these situations, she beeps. And beeps. And beeps. Sometimes you don’t know where she’s stuck and you’re forced to listen to her cries for help that haunt your dreams like Jafar from Aladdin or armed-and-in-charge security lady in your office building.
In case you’re wondering, there is also no “unplugging” Monica. She is a wireless device, has a touchpad, and only one actual button. Clearly a product of American “ingenuity” trying to compete with the Japanese or Koreans but inevitably falling short. My efforts to try and turn her off go completely unfulfilled and always leave me more frustrated than ever. One time, my boyfriend tried to teach me how to use the touchpad, because I’m always slamming my fingers onto it like an elderly man using the self-checkout at Target. “Gently,” he tells me as he softly presses onto her touchpad, “like how you want me to touch you – even though I never do.”
Sometimes I fantasize about the ways that I would kill Monica. Ignoring all implications, throwing her off our 9-story balcony seems gratifying as hell. Maybe having her suck up some bleach or putting her in the oven like Sylvia Plath. All ideas are welcome. The sky really is the limit. .