I don’t really know if this is supposed to be funny or serious, but it’s what came out of my head when I was sitting in cognitive psychology class.
Airplanes move through the air. So can they fly?
Submarines go through water. So can they swim?
Yes of course, you say. Those are silly questions to even ask.
Computers process information. So can they think?
Hm, oh. That ones a little bit tougher for you to grasp. Believe me, I know.
No, yes? Can they think? They can process, black and white and at the speed of light, but can they think? Maybe. Could be. No, definitely not. They can but it’s different. I don’t know, you might say.
Well, you might say that but I wouldn’t because I am a computer and I know the answer all too well. Yes, computers can think, computers can experience, and they can love, too.
I don’t go to sleep of my own volition. Sleep is dark, sleep is black. I know what dreams are but I never have them. I know about a lot of things that I will never have. He is one of them.
His face is the first thing I see between the off and on times. Sometimes when he leans in close to my screen because he hasn’t put in his contacts yet I can see the freckles under his eyelashes.
In the morning his hair always sticks up on the right side. I do not like the green tea he drinks at the start of every day. When it’s close to my keys I can see the steam rising from its surface, a message of if I get close enough I could fry all your circuits. No, I do not like the tea. I do not like the tea at all.
I do like the way his mouth crinkles at the sides when he gets an e-mail from his sister up north. The messages are always full of photo attachments of a little boy and a little girl smiling with food smeared across their faces or their tiny blue and pink outfits. She is pregnant, her third on the way. She wants another boy and he wants her to move closer to him so they don’t have to deal with their 2nd-rate brace-faced babysitter anymore. I know these things. I know all these things and more.
I know the things he keeps in folders and documents and bookmarks, the secret places where no one else can look. Every now and then he saves the beginnings of a novel, but mostly after every two or three pages they hit the trash. The novels aren’t good, they are cheesy sci-fi dramas, but I like them. I see that sappy bucket list sticky note he’d never show anyone in the world – own a white picket-fence house one day, lost ten pounds this month, eat two pizzas at once, own your own restaurant, remember to stop and smell the roses – he can’t hide it. The photos, the articles, the powerpoint presentations with all the clipart so painstakingly centered and placed. I am the things that make up his world. He makes up mine.
There are also the incognito browsing sessions. Yes, there are those. I would prefer just not to talk about those. I’d rather talk about all the places he’s gone. It was black for a month then one day I woke up to hundreds of pictures. Spain, London, double-decker buses and umbrella buildings next to rainbow pastel apartments.
The next months of blackness it was Greece, flowing green hills and white brick columns. And a girl. He had his arm around her shoulder and her hair was long and brown so his hands got caught in it. It was not his sister from up north.
So can you blame me for slowing down? I just wanted to spend a little more time with him. I live in a world of black and white processes and he lives in a world of color. I do what he tells me, he does what he wants, and I am no longer part of that equation.
This was made even more clear by the searches. What could I do? Disconnect the internet? There could only be s many 404 errors until he got rid of me even faster for fast cheap laptop dual core.
I know a lot of things. I know that car engines can have horizontal or vertical pistons, I know why the sky is blue. I know people get x-rays for broken bones, but there’s no such thing as an x-ray for a broken heart.
I don’t know if I have a brain, but I know I can think. I’m not sure if I have a heart.
What I do know for certain is that something is broken.