One always remembers something in particular about a memorable day and for me it was the sun. For a July afternoon mid-winter, the sun was rather bright and the warmth welcome. Of course it was not merely the sun that made the day memorable, this was South Africa after all. It was, rather, the incident that occurred at the corner of Rae Frankel and Hennie Alberts somewhere in Albertsdal or Alberview… it could be Alberton. That detail is fuzzy. The smell of MacDonalds however is still clear and to this day, the smell reminds me of this incident. This… accident.
I won’t go into details, it was a pretty gory scene but in short the dog was hit by a car. Although the driver sped off, we were able to pull up his information through the security system that had been installed within the animal. I guess 30 years ago this would be a weird thing to say or expect any animal to be fitted with but robotics have advanced far enough now that this is a regular occurrence.
A number of people had piled out of the McDonalds, and we all huddled around the whimpering animal who was now clearly more machine than he was flesh. He whimpered mechanically, blue eyes flickering on and off as though it was attempting to stave off its imminent shut down. There was no talk of helping the animal or saving its memory chip for the owner, instead the main question was asking how far the ‘Cycle Bin was. What I remember far clearer was not the animal itself, but the lack of apathy from the people around me, as though the fact that the dog was a machine changes the fact that someone out there loved this dog.
I bent towards the animal, watching it struggle to tilt its head towards me. Being a machine I knew it would not bite as a regular hurt dog might, it was not in its programming, but I wondered if it would still respond to touch as my hand gingerly swept over the fur. It let out a soft whimper then a loud whirring noise rose from within the head. A few seconds later its eyes lit up bright: the projection of a young boy appeared, pouting .
“Sam boy,” the boy spoke to his dog, whose ears had perked up, “I hope you’ve been a good boy. I want you to know I love you boy, and you can shut down now. If anyone is watching this, don’t worry about Sam’s memory chip…we have a copy of it. I hope you tried to comfort him for me, and, and said…” the boy sniffled. His shoulders slumped. The projection switched off.
In response to:
We all know how hard it is to say goodbye to someone we love.
Or how easy it can be saying goodbye to someone we want out of our lives.