There are times, I am sure, when you believe your car is talking to you. Your lawn mower too, no doubt. These machines sometimes groan and squeal as if to say "Ease up, big boy" or "Honey, I have a headache."
I have to tell you, though, that these messages are all in your mind. Machines do not have feelings. They will never truly love you.
Well, all except one. A bike called Precious.
Precious has been fitted with all sorts of clever sensors that reveal the bike's thoughts and feelings at any given moment. As Precious rides along, the sensors send the average of their readings by text message back to servers that analyze the true emotional soul of this extraordinary machine.
This analysis leads, it being the modern world, to tweets at Twitter.com/yesiamprecious. Did I mention that Precious is currently on a 3-month journey from the East Coast of America to the West, in aid of Livestrong? Well, I should have, because it makes for some fascinating understanding of how a machine's brain and emotions really work.
You see, Precious is being ridden all the way by Janeen McCrae. And there is clearly some relationship tension between the two. For Precious tweeted Friday: "Oh, geez. In Vincent and she's started singing a damn Don McLean song. Suffering for MY sanity!" Perhaps it was a starry, starry night.
Precious has clearly felt a little depressed and worn down on this long journey. For example, last Wednesday, he (his creators at the highly innovative New York thinking house called Breakfast told me that Precious is no female) tweeted: "So much lightning! I'm so wet you can't even tell I just peed myself!" Oh, that darned global warming.
As for McCrae, whose side of the story can be found at Twitter.com/thenoodleator, she is clearly trying to hold it together emotionally for the pair of them. For example, she tweeted Friday: "Rest day tomorrow. @yesiamprecious needs his chain cleaned. 3 days of rain riding has hurt my Presh. (But no water on the brain!)"
Should you be somewhere in Kentucky and many points west over the next week or two, perhaps you could look out for this astonishing psycho-technical experiment as it wafts your way. (Here is the Precious route map.)
I would very much like to hear from anyone who happens upon Precious and Janeen and can report on the state of their relationship. There seems to be some co-dependence going on. For Precious tweeted Saturday: "Rest day! Time for her to to (sic) dig the glass from my tires. Tire glass: the acne of the bike world."
This is truly a technological breakthrough. How many machines have ever been able to express their acne trouble? And how long before we see the movie: "Precious. Based on the novel 'Pedal' by Janeen"?