That was the question I got from a friend. I thought about that for a moment. It occurred to me that I have been using AI for a long time. Photoshop has always been sort of AI, right? And your camera on your phone is sort of baby AI, too, isn't it? All the filters that you can choose to use? Yea, I guess so. That sort of made me stop and think a bit. Is or isn't everything digital in the AI world?
Opinions may vary.
I started thinking about how useful AI is/will be in collecting data and making decisions. It can/will be able to know every keystroke that happens on a digital platform and then make decisions based on them. You will one day want to question some of the decisions and find yourself arguing with an algorithm. We are already doing that to some extent. But the amount of data will just be too much for human workers, so decisions will be made by AI that will probably be more accurate. Your arguments will be puny.
Again, opinions may vary.
I should let AI write this piece today. I am not sharp at all. At the end of the evening a visitor dropped by and kept me up later than I like. Then I didn't sleep well. And now, I am muzzy. Too bad, really. I had been excited to tell you all about my day in glorious detail. What was it I wanted to say? The whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Or something like that. There must have been a realignment of my stars.
Maybe I should start with the last thing first and try to work my way back. I remember eating half a slab of ribs, two pieces of Mexican street corn, and slaw with beers. I mean, it was Friday night. I was partying. That was after the Margarita which came after an earlier scotch. I had stopped at the liquor store before I went to my mother's. When I got there, I cracked the bottle. Again, as I said, it was Friday. WTF? right? I was feeling like a celebration.
Before the visit with my mother, I had gone to the Cafe Strange. I needed to write some things. When I told my mother about the amount I write, she looked at me quizzically. It silently questioned why. For what reason? You don't make any money at it? You don't write novels or write for news outlets? What's the point? Now I can't say, "You're a moron, do you know that?" to my mother. But it is a question, isn't it? You don't, do you? It must seem like some form of madness or Narcissism. If I had to choose, I would guess the latter. My life. I try to make sense of it all. Fat chance, you say. Yea, yea, you are probably right.
While I was sitting with tea at the cafe, I got a text from Sky. My heart always skips a beat. At Christmas, I started a brand new journal. In it, where it says "if lost please return to," I put her name and city. She asked me if it was still there. The journal is almost full, I told her. She texted, "Send it to me."
Ha! No way! Which brings me back to another question in my mother's eye. What will happen to it all one day? Well. . . at least we have this. I don't know about the rest of it. I don't filter anything in the journals. I just try to make sense of my existence there. Journal writing has gotten me into trouble with all my girlfriends. They like to sneak a peak. It isn't right, though, for I am writing for an audience of one there.
Sky gave me 👎.
What I was writing about just then was the lunch I had at the good Italian place that afternoon. After the gym, I wanted lunch out. . . because it was Friday. I thought about going for ceviche, but I decided on the good Calamai Luciana with the white wine and plum tomato sauce. I sat at the small bar, of course, between a group of women and a group of guys. I was pleased that the bartender remembered me since I hadn't seen him there in probably a year. I was feeling special. When he asked me what I wanted, the fellow on my left said, "Do you want the spaghetti, the lasagna, or the ravioli?"
"Uh. . . I was thinking of the calamari."
"Do you remember me?" he asked. I didn't. But he remembered me, name and all.
"You used to live across from Betsy and John," he said. Betsy and John lived in the house that just sold across the street. They moved from there about twenty years ago. They were a young couple just out of college, then. She got pregnant and had a baby and they moved to a huge, beautiful house on the lake.
"I haven't seen them since they moved fro the house on the lake," I said.
He was friendly in the way of the gymroids and all the boys who are members of the Racquet Club, quick, confident, witty, and ready with a barb. He introduced me by name to his friends and we all shook hands. I thought that would be that, but they brought me into their conversation. They were looking at a photo on one of their phones and passed it over to me. It was of a BMW hanging upside down in what looked like a warehouse.
"I helped put that thing up there," said one of the friends.
"What is that? A showroom?"
"Naw. . . it's a garage."
"Uh. . . why. . . ?"
"He's just got too many cars and put this up there for display."
They were friends with some of the wealthiest real estate owners in town. They were talking cars, so like the hillbilly rube I am, I mentioned that my buddy had just bought a McLaren. The fellow who remembered me picked up his cap from the bar. It said "McLaren." He had just been down to Sebring with the fellows who own the McLaren dealership, he said. They had a million dollar car in the race that the driver drove into the wall.
I remembered that Betsy came over to the house to tell my wife and I to watch "Good Morning America" the next day because her father was going to be on. He had just given the largest private donation to a state college in history.
"One hundred million dollars," my friend said.
"And that was '90s dollars. If he gave that much to a university, how much do you think he gave his pretty little daughter?"
"One hundred million dollars," he said factually. He was much closer to them than I.
"You were living with. . . . "
"We were married."
She still runs in those circles.
"Didn't you date. . . ."
He named the daughter of a fabulously wealthy family.
He and Betsy and John had all gone to school with her. He continued to query me a bit, but I was getting uncomfortable. I don't like to talk about any of my past, really. It could be dangerous. Plus, it was making feel what a hillbilly I still was. Fuck. Everybody buys McLarens for fun and I can't even afford a printer. My life is great, but it really sucks. I should move to a trailer park on the outskirts. I could avoid all this.
The fellow grabbed his phone and put his arm around me. "We have to take a selfie to send to John. C'mon. . . smile."
The conversation continued, though, and I got in my shots, too. I can dance, I just don't anymore. Retirement, Covid, and the rest of it. I just haven't gotten on the dance floor for years, and now I have to watch where I step.
Tennessee had texted me from the airport. He sent me a photo of the Jeep he bought for running around his construction projects there. "Remind you of yours?" he asked.
"I'm going to get a Vespa," I texted back. "I found one about two hours away that looks good."
Right away he said he'd drive me up in his truck and we'd get it. I love cowboys. That's just the way they roll.
C.C. sent photos from NYC. "It's under water," he wrote. I didn't get it until I saw the news this morning. Holy smokes! He wasn't kidding.
Travis finished McMurtry's "Roads" and was again urging me sweetly to get on the highway and make a photo record of it all. I said maybe, "but," I said, "you've had cats. When they are young, you can't keep them in the house, but when they get old, you can't get them to go out. I may be a house cat now." I've run and run, you know? I've had the stuffing knocked out of me, too. It feels good to be home.
Until someone knocks on your door just before bedtime, comes in and wants a drink. I'm all worn out this morning. But yesterday was a kick somehow, a full Friday. I'm fat with food and drink but not regretting it. Now it is time for my oatmeal. Ha! For real. It is ready. I return to my careful ways.
It's late now and I have things I must do. All this scribbling as the fay wannabe cafe writers so preciously call it.
Maybe I should get a beret.