I have a fear of robots. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. As with many people’s issues, it probably stems from Dr Who. I once got a very big fright from an unexpected movement by Davros in Madam Tussauds. And don’t even get me started on Cybermen. Daleks, (until they invented the new-fangled flying ones of course), were always just about bearable because of the ‘not being able to get up the stairs’ thing. But Cybermen could follow you anywhere. I know now that they are technically Cyborgs and not Robots. That doesn’t make it any better. And they don’t have any eyes. I think that’s the worst bit. Those gaping, empty, black sockets where the eyes ought to be. Same as Magical Trevor and those spin-off characters on the 118 24 7 advert. When I see them I can’t think further than corpses and worms. I’m sorry but I can’t.
Anyway, I digress. I think my fear of robots might have a connection with my fear of technology. I’m fascinated by new technology but mortally afraid of most of it. I don’t like it when machines talk to me. I especially don’t like it when they tell me what to do. I’m not very good at being told what to do at the best of times, but when it comes in a semi-sarcastic synthetic voice from a tin box I get quite upset. The mechanics of talking machines have been explained to me several times by a lot of very patient people, but I still refuse to believe that anything that is capable of communicating with me in any way whatsoever is not also capable of killing me, should it choose to. (It’s OK, I feel the same about humans).
Unfortunately as life progresses there are less and less things in the house that don’t wish to communicate with me. Even the new washing machine insisted on saying ‘Hello’ to me every time I switched it on.
Washing machines are big and heavy, and so although it wasn’t going to get up any stairs in a hurry, living in a ground floor flat meant that fear of offending it obliged me to say ‘Hello’ back to it each time. Just in case.
(Incidentally said washing machine doesn’t say ‘Goodbye’ when it’s finished. I wrote to Hotpoint to ask them why this was. I’m told that my query is now with the Marketing Department. I’m not expecting a reply very soon. I’ve never met a Marketeer with a sense of urgency).
So being a very lazy person, and uninclined to move to a tree house, I’m having to learn to live with technology. Two things have helped me to overcome my fears. The first was living in close proximity to this splendid fellow and his dog:
Is he really a robot? I doubt it. He’s made of vacuum cleaner parts and I’ve never seen him move. I used to walk past them every day without incident. This gave me confidence. Especially as they never chased me. His ‘dog’ looks like a giant mouse, but I’m not scared of mice. Plus I have a Dyson. It doesn’t speak to me. I like that.
I’ll tell you about the second thing next time. (It’s not Twitter).