September 6th, 2002


Ask Me About Jewish Folk Music

Anyone who knows me well could tell you that I have one true passion in life, and that is surfing. I probably spend about eighty hours a week doing things related to surfing. Most of my friends are people I met at surf competitions, or through surfboard mailing lists. I would never consider dating a non-surfer. I haven't mentioned this before because it never came up. Or maybe I was embarassed. But there you go. Surfing.

Anyway, I met someone this weekend at the Regional End-Season Competition down in Monterey. There was a woman in a wetsuit sitting on the beach, watching everything with a grim determination, but never going in the water. Well, there's a whole mess of people who go to the beach and don't surf, but somehow, she didn't match the usual profile.

As I was approaching, she called out to me, "If you see a man walking down the street with his fly unzipped, do you tell him? What if you were in New York, instead of California? Would it matter how old he was? Would it be from a desire to help, a desire to fix things that are out of place, a way of getting attention, or just a habit?"

I didn't know, so I said what I was going to say anyway, "Why aren't you surfing?"

Rather than answer, she opened up a panel on the arm of her wetsuit, revealing a vast array of circuitry. Surf robots - I'd heard about them, but never met them.

"I'm going to restart the e-commerce economic boom," she said, boldly.

I sat down twenty feet away from her, "How?"

"Online purchases. Everyone will want them, and then the business will roll in again. The whole thing burst because people were expecting failure, but maybe boundless expansion is a possibility, if everyone has the courtesy and common sense to ignore any risk of failure and keep investing. Cash begets cash."

"What will you sell?"

She handed me a Palm Pilot with the online ordering form.

...the form, for your perusal...Collapse )

Based on this, I've decided that conversing with a robot will always leave me feeling awkward. Maybe I need a special hat.