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This is not a metaphor
park benches
When you ask a robot what electricity tastes like, she'll bluntly tell you "like a planet around a star." It means nothing, but of course it also means a lot. If you begin to question her on her soul, however, she'll become flustered and frustrated and spit lines of code. Her eyes shine with fiber optics while she tells you about the transvestite who she loves, who has doubled the speed of satellites and cured obscure diseases. Then you ask about her childhood. She's a realist. You empathize. And those shiny fiber optic orbs'll lower in embarrassment after she rambles about her brother, never the same since Nam. You find her inner mechanisms disconcerting. She looks into your eyes. It's a few frustrating hours. You ask if she's ok. She's gone quiet. Her eyes glaze.

The robot lives in a pretty little house with Bruce. He's grown protective. He expects formality from the robot's visitors. The robot wears lipstick. When the robot wakes up for the first time she reminds of yourself after a long slumber. She's confused. She asks you to give her a minute. She speaks in vowels. You give her a minute. It's a problem that you're there upon her awakening because she doesn't recognize your face or voice. She asks you to read John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. She finds it comforting and it allows her to recalibrate to your unique accent. You need to get her to understand you.

She would go to Vancouver if she had legs but she can't tell you if she wishes for those legs or not. Her eyelids slowly close with a whir when you ask about her desires.

You won't be able to resist asking about her philosophy. Ask about death. Be profound. She says "Tell me about it." She can't think of anything to say.

She reminds you of a stroke victim or your mother-in-law with Alzheimer's to whom you gave a robot pet which she bonded with and kissed daily. If a robot says it loves, is that the same as loving? What if she's been given skin? What if she's been given tear ducts?

A child can hold a toy upside down for just slightly longer than a gerbil, provided that toy can protest. Silent Barbies are not a problem. But Oh, that crying fear in the electronic voice enters their little hearts and they flip the toy right side up in less than a minute. They know it's not really afraid but they also know they're wrong about that. They understand fear. They fell in a swimming pool once or lost sight of their mother's hand in the store or stood on top of the tallest hill after dark and looked up at the milky way and forgot the face of their father. They understand when the robot toy moans "me scared." They flip it. They love it.


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