05: April 2015 #13 - I AM GOING TO MISS PEOPLE

Authored by Dave Harris


by Dave Harris

            One evening, somewhere in america, I had a hankering for something. I wanted pizza, as juvenile as that sounds. With great care and effort I drove through heavy traffic and a foreboding nightly fog.
            The place isn't important. The time isn't important. The only thing that matters, that has importance in this story, is the employees of this tiny, awkwardly narrow pizzeria.
             I walked into this absurdly narrow pizzeria in the dead of night. It had no tables for eating, but it had a single row of chairs on the left hand side. The place was empty, except for the employees.
            I walked right up to the register and gave a new employee my order. She hesitated clumsily at the cash register. A veteran employee, with the scars of capitalism on his face, dashed to the front to save her, gallantly, in all his glory. But little did he know that I was only a person who considered himself to be mostly harmless.
            I gave my order and waited. As I waited delivery drives came by, to and fro, as if coming back from some battlefield needing to be resupplied with pizzas and sodas and other pizza related things so they could go back to the front well-armed. They would talk like Lions or Dragons or Ironmen. They talked as if they were 10 feet tall and breathed fire.
            The young, carefree manager also threw fire around with her words from time to time. At some  point someone was threatened with bodily harm, which was wondrously violent to me and filled me with such joy.
            They talked with each other as if they were brothers and sisters: family members. I enjoyed their banter so very much.
            When my order was ready it was hand delivered to me by a man with delicate blue eyes, a face grizzled with a five day beard, wearing a black woolen hat. He handed me the box of death as if it was an american flag, with dreadful determination and solemn care. We exchanged stern looks. I had an idea, an impulse to salute him, but did not. He retreated back to his cook's station.
            I hesitantly left with the sustenance of the night and walked to my car. Then I realized that the traffic would be rough and heavy. I decided to go back to the strange place. I consumed death and quite enjoyed listening to the banter of these strangers.
            I realized then, as I do now, as I have for awhile, that people won't be around for much longer. People are slowly being replaced by machines. The machines will talk to themselves as they do now, but I will not understand them; I will not know them as I know people. I will not enjoy them half as much as I do people with all their flaws.
           I sat there to be with the people, because these people, as all people, will disappear sooner then we can realize. I will miss people when they are gone. Machines make poor substitutes for human beings, and worse friends.