Machines, appliances, and gadgets sometimes feel like they have their own personalities — from quirky cars to dignified food processors. What’s the most “human” machine you own?

My vacuum cleaner and I have a love/hate relationship. I haven’t named her, but we meet every now and then for a free-form dance around the house. We seem to trip and stumble through our dance, but that’s because she doesn’t follow well.

I have always hated vacuuming. I usually get mad at my machine. She and I don’t work well together, though there is nothing wrong with her, per se. Perhaps I have a bad attitude, but she always seems anxious to trip me up, so I think the feeling is mutual.

I merely try to get her to do the job she was designed to do, as quickly as possible. Obviously, it’s not a task I want to linger over. When we begin, I try to be orderly and organized, taking the chairs out from under the dining table. Then I rev her up, and off we go. “Why won’t you pick up those bits of grass my dear husband brings in on his bare feet? C’mon lady, do your job,” I say to her. “You can do it,” and she does eventually, but I feel like she’s just out to get me, making a seemingly simple job hard. OK. Now let’s see how far we can stretch that cord — then I hear a clunk and turn around to see she’s pulled a chair over. I swear that cord has a mind of its own.

In fact, I think I have a bigger problem with the cord than anything. It trips me up, always seems to end up under the vacuum (little bald spots have appeared), and it gets stuck under and around everything — I think it does it on purpose.

I finish, and start to wrap up the cord, happy to be done. But at the last minute, the bedroom door slams shut. What? Then I see the plug caught under the door. “Ok, we’re through, vacuum,” I say smugly, “until another day when I’m ready to put up with your antics again!”