Honey, I’m Home!


Recently I was watching a video (a funny one) that was on one of the late night shows about how there are these Robots with AI that are being used for certain ‘relationships’ I won’t really get into here. I’m not sure if it was real or humor in response to all the out pouring of sexual harassment allegations that have hit the news lately. In any case, it was a moment’s pause where laughing was medicine in an otherwise very un-funny situation.

But the whole idea made me think. Having been a single woman for a very long time, I wondered about the concept of Robot companions–not at all in the way that this particular video mentioned, but maybe more like an R2D2 sort of way. Could this be a possibility for the future? Our own home companions or partners?

I mean, let’s face it: I’ve “been there, done that” and bought every possible T-shirt for trying to date and find the right person for me. Over the course of years I’ve been single (and I’ve actually lost count now of the years), and the stories I could tell about the weirdos I’ve come across on the websites would make hanging out with a machine seem like heaven. Humans are scary and/or boring.

Picture it: instead of pouring through 100’s of  old photos and fake profiles of humans, you could simply pick out which Robot best suits your needs; short, tall; human looking (creepy) or not; male voice, female voice; appendages or just lights. Then, you could have the AI programmed to whatever things you enjoy or are interested in–think of all the data that could go in there. No more dates with someone who is clueless! Ah the dinner discussions!

Honestly, I’m not so interested in much of an emotional attachment anymore, although some of these Robots you see in movies are pretty darn cute, way cuter than some of the people I’ve tried to date! It’s all about communication anyway at my age, or maybe even helping out around the place. So if you read a good book together, you could discuss it. Or maybe go to a movie together. There could be special all terrain Robots built for hiking too.

The possibilities are really endless here. Robots are filling in so many areas of our lives anyway, why not becoming part of our family? Yes, I understand there is a bit of a spooky part of it; the whole bit of them taking over the world, infiltrating our homes and getting smarter than we are (which isn’t a stretch really). Sure, this could certainly happen…

But before they do decide to take over, having a companion that’s smart, reliable, predictable, neat, sympatico and maybe even agreeable would be such a nice change. And maybe having one on your side might just be an advantage when push comes to shove and Robots gain power over us.

Because, if there are bad ones, then there will be good ones, and they will be the ones we shared our homes with and loved.

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Poem: Closing In


Walking towards a fading rainbow

wondering why heron sits thinking

at the edge of a lake

Grumbling crows don’t make any sense

nor does the dollar for Autumn leaves

Wrong photos sent

but right words said instead

no answer back

Neighbors car looks somehow wrong

but it’s the same

Only comfort comes

from three men

too close in a dream

While awake

the cat keeps stalking

every move

Eyes blurred and bleary

looking for real

It’s all wrapped up

in stuff that’s fake

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Dying


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I was in the presence today of a dying person. No, not like you and me–I mean actively dying. We are all dying of course, but this is part of my hospice volunteering, my first day meeting with my new patient.

It’s not at all like being a paramedic because we aren’t given much: only a name. No diagnosis, no real history, no nothing. Of course, I’m not your average volunteer, so I can deduce some things. But, I’m not there to fix really. Only to sit. And maybe to provide some small comfort, maybe some smiles and to help a caregiver get some respite.

In this case I am reminded how much we can tell by someone’s eyes. They may not be able to speak much anymore, but their eyes speak volumes. And maybe they aren’t able-bodied any longer, but it is easy to remember that this same person was someone else, someone before they were dying.

They were like you and me: laughing loudly, arguing, dancing, quilting, walking around, loving, working and most of all–living.

It makes me wonder why people spend time while they are alive wasting it on unhappy things. On things that upset them. On things that they can never reclaim. On people who will never care enough. Why I did.

I need to spend more time living while I’m dying. Because we never know when it will be our turn that the dying will become active. Or maybe the living will simply stop.

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Poem: Keep On Walking


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Keep walking on

into the fretful night

where strangers surround your empty mind

maybe they fill that hollow hole

as your hobo self lurches forward

Keep walking

even after you’ve fallen

with your bruised knees

from the crawling you’ve done

to keep you low to the ground

But keep on walking

even though the horizon looks flat

because of the secrets it holds

it may bend to your will

as you approach

Keep on walking

with those weary old feet

which have carried you far

Keep walking

Keep walking

it won’t be long now

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Poem: Seek Not


Just gotta keep on walkin

till the paths divergent go

or a single one does open up

and your feet are raw and muddy

keep on pushin

however slow

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Just gotta keep on walkin

though the road may be tough

you may meet many strangers

who you never even know

some greet you friendly

but some are mighty rough

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Just gotta keep on walkin

and push the branches back

they’ll tear your legs and

rip your arms

the blood may drip bright red

and it will leave a track

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Just gotta keep on walkin

following  the trail

wherever it may lead

you may not know

but it’s your path

seek not the Holy Grail

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Walking


During my walk through my ‘village’, I am constantly struck by what an alien landscape it is to me. Even the name of the place reminds me of some sort of Sci Fi novel where you can’t be quite sure who is human and who might appear so, but is really a look-alike with highly functioning artificial intelligence.

The homes are all blazingly white, with only specifically allowed colored shutters and all laid out with the same floor plan–this giving the effect of some weird colony created by Big Brother (it was actually in the ’70’s, and BB was the usual group of condo types trying to create the ultimate paradise), but getting cookie cutter instead. It was a good thought and the prices were good, so the humans came…

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But as I stroll around a corner and am by myself, the southern sun shimmering off the dazzling white homes, I feel transported to decades into the future. Maybe I am the last ‘real’ human left here, wandering the streets, pretending to be one of ‘them’. They sit behind their curtains, with no honest food in their refrigerators (because they don’t eat) and their hollow laughs echoing in my mind. Who are they really?

I walk and wonder. Do they know who I am? Do they watch me from behind those standard colored shutters? Am I safe? My heart picks up a pace. The heat beats down.

Then I turn a corner. Music drifts from one of the identical homes. I listen: some 60’s tune I recall… And in the driveway next to this home, a car has a bumper sticker: COEXIST. You know the one: with each letter representing some spiritual symbol.

And I snap back: maybe they are really human after all? I remember now, it’s 2017 and it might be OK.

As I’m walking, I briefly look up at the empty blue sky above me. And just for a moment, I imagine a huge billowing mushroom cloud. I lower my head and keep walking…

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