Tuesday, March 26, 2013

human factor

these days, when something breaks, we can usually tell.

our cars tell us 'service such and such.'

thank you car computer.

our computers tell us

'update such and such.'

thank you apple.

our phones give us status updates, re updates, etc. etc.

my coffee machine broke yesterday.

no notice.

thank you coveted coffee maker.

thanks a mil.

the guy who fixes our coffee machine also installed it, along w/our oven and fridge, and dishwashers.

he's excellent at that stuff, his name is ray.

he's also a singer in a band, has a super smooth voice.

somehow over the years, when ray and i talk on the phone, we've fallen into a kind of goodfellas exchange, both of us saying, heavy faux brooklyn accent, how you doin'?

heavy on the d.

i'm doin' good.

how you doin'?

i'm doin' good!

how you doin'?

we go back and forth who knows how many xs, then finally we get down to biz, which always includes a reminder to send the bill to the godfather.

so ray's coming out to fix my sometimes diva of a coffee machine, who up and went kaput without so much as a nod.

no heads up at all.

i actually had to drive over to starbucks at dawn.

but oh well.

i wondered at radiation, underneath dumbo, beneath the radiant red laser lights, in the midst of the buzzing, and very faint clanking,

how do we know this thing is working?

it might move like it's working.

it might sound like it is.

but how do we really know?

if there's a part that fails, though the rest of the parts don't fail, how can we be sure it's doing it's job?

cars can drive even when they probably shouldn't be driven.

they can drive many miles before you're screwed on the side of the road.


this has never happened to me, not once, i have always followed those 'alert' signs on my dashboard,

just fyi in case the godfather sees this.


dumbo is not human.

dumbo is a machine.

same as my beloved coffee machine, who failed me on a cold wet snowy monday morning.

i wonder.

it's not the computer that is smart.

it's the humans programing them.

life on mars.

i mean life in general.

life please.

that's the idea.

dumbo, are you working?

xx katy


  1. When I did radiation, the machine broke down about once a week. Somehow they know. There's probably a red light that flashes, or something. I guess other than that, we need to simply hope the darn thing is working. Much like chemo. ~Catherine

  2. i'm the sort of person (e.g., paranoid!) to wonder about this kind of thing as well. whenever i've gotten an xray, or at the dentist, i'll wonder - hm, are they being diabolical & radiating me way more than they need to? my car ain't that smart - its a '99! think of how far we've come technologically since then. imagine if the treatment of & cure for cancer moved as fast as all of our newfangled gadgets. follow the money, as they say.



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virginia, United States