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Hurrying to meet a friend I passed a cat minding its own business on the sidewalk. A moment later a nearby door opened and a robot peered out, seemingly checking on the cat. Time for dinner? Treats? Stopping would have been awkward, and likely to affect the outcome, Shrödinger and all that.
Submersion isn’t usually an issue unless in water more than a few multiples their height. Then specialized seals are necessary along with some buoyancy measures. I thought I was being funny with this comic but the robots can be terribly literal and didn’t get my attempt at humor. And they pointed out that VLF would be best suited for propagation of EMF signals via water, rather than ULF.
In the few minutes before transit arrived, I asked after their wristwatch, an impressively over-built thing. The robot considered my question for a moment before replying, “I want to perceive the slipping of time between the demarcations; its evaporation. I want to perceive time as portions of the day rather than the steady ticking of moments lost.” The transit arrived and the wristwatch disappeared in the swirl of passengers.
With each visit the moments I record stack up. They accumulate; they build up in my memory and create depth and definition. In the evenings the establishment’s 3800K lighting casts everything in amber, arresting and slowing the transition of one moment to the next, allowing me to hold each one and to consider it thoroughly.
I snap my sketchbook closed and sweep my pens into my open satchel. I dig out a few more coins from my pocket and drop them on the tiny table, adding to the small pile I’ve already left there— a peace offering to the proprietor. I flip my bag around behind me and step out into the city lights and setting sun.
I used to think the robots were always connected no matter where or what they were doing. But I’ve since discovered that individuals will voluntarily disconnect from the network for brief periods. This isn’t seen as a repudiation of their social values but simply another operational mode.
The robots never “sleep” for lengthy periods of time; this makes wandering their cities both endlessly fascinating and exhausting. I am especially drawn to these crowded alleys: they are always buzzing with all manner of activity and always in a state of perpetual dusk.