Annie slept in my recliner. It was to relieve the stress on her joints I suppose. She could have slept standing up since it required no more than the lab turning her off after a few minutes with no stimulus. I on the other hand slept in my bed. Since I had not slept with anyone in the house for some time, it was difficult the first night. I did manage.
Annie watched quietly every morning as I ate a breakfast of cold cereal. My idea of cereal is a mixed bag of things. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, two or three kinds of cereal mixed together, cinnamon, maple syrup, and milk. I know it sounds weird but it tastes good.
I suppose if I had a date she could have been stored in the closet. Since all her emotions were programmed in, I wondered how she would have felt about that. Probably wouldn't have even given it a thought. It was hard for me to wrap my head around her status. There was no human intelligence guiding her movements, no remote operator with a joystick. Annie was allowed to make her own decisions as she went along. I just prayed that she didn't have a robotic nervous breakdown one day and go postal on me.
During out first work break together I taught her how to ride a motorized bicycle. I rode the antique gasoline bike and she rode the modern electric one. I could have left her home, but I really wanted her to know how to ride in case it ever became necessary. Teaching her on my off duty time seemed like the thing to do. Besides she was good company and good for my image. None of my civilian friends knew that she was an it.
Our first trip was out to the lake which supplied half the town's water. I parked my bike while I waited for her to pull in beside me. We put the helmets onto the bikes before I led the way to the line of old men fishing from the bank.
"What are they?" she asked.
"They are fishermen?"
"What is a fisherman?" She had no idea what the men were doing.
I realized for the first time how complicated fishing really was. "Well let's start at the beginning. Well maybe not the very beginning. Fish are a lower life form that lives in water."
"Yes I know what fish are. I have seen you order and eat them. I do know that they lived in water."
"Okay fish eat plants and other even lower forms of life. Sometimes even smaller fish."
"Yes Edgar I know that as well."
"Okay the fishermen get up early in the morning. They load their cars with all the junk, which is now spread around them. Then they drive here."
"That is a little more basic than I need Edgar."
"Well Annie, I have no idea how basic your information needs to be. I have never taught fishing to a robot."
"Would you please stop calling me that. I am an android. We are as different from robots as much as you are from that fish."
One of the old men was lifting a fish from the water and putting it in his bucket. "What he just did is called catching a fish. He puts bait onto the hook and throws it into the water. Hopefully a fish will come along and take the bait. He will get himself hooked and the fisher man wind him in."
"He doesn't actually take the bait then, he tries to take the bait," she replied.
"Now who is getting nit picky?"
"Very well." she said with an android smile. "So what do they do with the fish."
"Some take them home to eat, others toss them back in the water."
"Let me see if I understand this. Is the equipment they use expensive?"
"It can be," I admitted.
"So humans buy expensive equipment?" I nodded. "Then they get up early in the morning and pack it into their cars?" I nodded again. "They drive out to the late to stand on the bank in the heat?" I nodded yet again. "All this to wait for hours to maybe catch a fish?"
"That's right." I admitted.
"Then to throw it back?"
"Now you have it," I suggested grinning.
"Why?" she asked.
"I have no idea. Some people see that as entertainment."
"Like listening to music?" she asked.
"Not exactly, it's more like a sport."
"You mean like tennis?"
I knew that it was a bad comparison but I had no choice but go on with it. "Something like that I guess."
"You humans are strange creatures."
"I know, that's why I have a job."
I spent another twenty minutes explaining why people water skied. Then some more time explaining what two men in kayaks were doing.
"Hey Edgar, I see you found someone to ride with you." The voice came from Louise the park ranger.
"Yes I did, Louise this is Annie. Annie this is my friend Louise the park ranger."
Annie was her usual unemotional self, but Louise seemed a little colder than usual. I just put it down to the woman/woman thing in general. I knew it wasn't about me.
After her brief hello Louise left me alone with Annie. "She likes you Edgar, I think you should go out with her."
"She is married Annie so I think you are mistaken."
"No, Edgar I am not. I have quite a bit of training in body language."
"You might come in handy to have around after all." I smile as I said it. The smile was lost on Annie.