The Philtre Bee / 12 August 2002

I took a phone survey this morning, sponsored by the local soft-rock radio station. It was conducted by a machine, the sentences stitched together from words spoken by a wide range of genders and ethnicities. “Hello / Mister or / Missus / Joseph / Allen,” it said. “Have / you / a moment / ?” the rising note of a question forced with some kind of waveform manipulator.

It asked me what I thought of Richard. I said that I found him to be condescending via self-deprecation. No one is buying his act and we’d all prefer it if he just came right out and acted smug and self-righteous, we’d pretty much adore it at this point.

It asked me whether my advances toward Anna were appropriate or not. I said probably not and and it demanded an elaboration. I said define appropriate and it did and I said probably not. I asked if Anna had said anything about it and it said it was asking the questions here. I said that Anna has the cleft palate thing going on and you know that drives me nuts and that I’m rendered basically helpless, I’m trapped in the superstrong strands of her metaphorical web and struggling only makes it worse, that sort of thing.

It asked me if maybe I hadn’t created a situation where a happy, healthy relationship with Anna was impossible. Because even if she felt the same way about me, I’d approached her in such a crude, unsavory fashion at the enforced midsummer event that she’d have no choice but to rebuke me, now and in the future. And maybe, the machine went on, maybe I did that on purpose, sabotaging the potential relationship right from the get-go so I wouldn’t have to deal with the scariness and complexity of a real-life honest-to-god actual relationship?

I hung up the phone then, incensed, washing my hands of the whole topic, but then I came running to you, diary, scrawling these words that only get scrawled when I’m confronted by cheap and sickening truth. But if that’s how she wants to play it, fine. I’ve got the schematics for my remote-controlled Philtre Bee pretty much finalized and will do a test launch next weekend.

Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

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