Tuesday, April 20
Ten days until T1 personal tax filing deadline
12:30 PM MT
When we get to the park, Sophie wants to sit on a park bench directly facing the pathway but the sun is shining directly into our eyes, so I ask if we can sit on an adjacent one about twenty feet away in the shade from a stand of poplar trees that has nearly as good a view. The walk here from the bistro where we had lunch has gotten my digestion moving and when I bend to sit, I am not uncomfortable. It’s a fine bench to smoke a cigar on, but we are watching for her friend Wendy.
She checks her phone to see how members of her team are proceeding with a patch they are installing.
-It’s something we are testing and my team is doing some of the background coding, she says. I don’t anticipate any problems but I will feel better once the testing is complete. What do you think of being me for two minutes?
-I didn’t know we were here already, but I haven’t exactly been paying attention.
-We’re not here yet. This is for a company called Speak, run by a brother and sister named Edwards in the UK. They are getting ready to do an ipo and are just getting things in order. It’s meant as a virtual entertainment thing but there are a lot of ways they can go. With a single trode hidden in an earpiece, they say they can capture enough brain activity to replicate most of an experience. If you wear the earpiece for a few hours, it can sample you enough to run an algorithm that will enable them to fill it out so it can be played back.
-So they’re recording you for hours? That’s a lot of data they are capturing. That alone is extremely valuable. I would buy that stock.
-Acquaint mode doesn’t record, she says. There’s too much data that they could never capture 48 hours of complete activity. Acquaint graphs how the electrical impulses in your brain move as you do things and think and maps the movement. There are parts of how the brain works that are fairly common to everyone and can be mapped, but apparently some of the way they are linked together and activated are unique, so the acquaint captures that so it can be replicated.
-Wow. They are going to make the billions.
-They have competition, Sophia says. There’s at least two other companies working on this, but Speak seems to have the lead when it comes to catching something, filling it out into an experience and playing it back so it’s sort of readable.
-Interesting. I think.
-I want you to do one for me, she says.
I think for a moment.
-Okay person who dances on camera.
-That’s just collateral from someone else’s thing, my face is almost never visible. You don’t see me taking any of that stuff.
-Well, now you have something to do with yourself. Get yourself acquainted and make one. Once you save it, it will automatically be available in a folder on my device.
She takes a plastic bag out of her handbag, removes a pair of purple running shoes, and replaces the leather shoes she wore to lunch.
-I am going out dancing with my friends tonight and trying to avoid the temptation to speak during it. We are starting at the Lottery and are going to take some mdm before so we hit the sweet spot right when we get there. When would Catherine say is the best time?
Catherine hates Lottery. The one night we were there she danced every single couple off until we and one other couple she decided to like were the only ones on the floor. It took three songs.
-All we used were coffee and tobacco so I can’t say what she would recommend. She did all that other stuff before we met. Just make sure you are looking out for each other would be the only thing I can pass on. Remember it’s supposed to be fun.
Wendy, pregnant, emerges from the forest, walks over and hugs Sophia. Sophia hugs her back.
-This is Michael. We shake hands.
-Nice to meet you, I say. How are you feeling?
-I am just fine but the due date was three days ago and I just want to get this baby out of me and out into the world. I am hoping to fast walk at least two miles today and hopefully that will get everything going. I already have half a mile in but Malcolm and I have both sets of in-laws staying with us and our mothers insisted that they join me.
-They’re on the trail now? asks Sophia.
-I left them behind in about 10 seconds but we can catch them on the way back. It’s a half mile walk one way, and if you keep me company, we can pass them a couple of times.
-Let’s go! says Sophia.
-It was a pleasure to meet you. Good luck to you and your family this week, I say.
I give Sophia a quick salute, she returns it, I take a step back to let them go.
-Thank you, Wendy says, and they turn to go. I can hear Sophia asking about Malcolm’s mother, trying to keep with Wendy as they disappear down the path.
I have been waiting for my refrigerator to turn off so I can play the white seven-inch version of Francisco Lopez’ Untitled Single Piece 1 on the turntable and actually hear it. After I take three more puffs on a cigar, the refrigerator clicks off and the room becomes audible again. I get the platter spinning, dust the record again with the brush, balance the needle carefully over the lead-in groove, settle it down, return to the sofa, pick up my cigar, puff it twice to keep it going and listen to the first low rumblings come out of the speakers. My phone buzzes on the coffee table and I ignore it, then it buzzes twice more.
I carefully place the cigar in the ashtray on the right arm of the sofa, lean forward and pick up the phone. It is unlikely to be a client and is probably Gord listening to something.
It is a series of three texts from a ten-digit number, of which I have several that I haven’t named as contacts yet.
Hi! What are you doing?
I am dancing
This is sophie
I write back.
Michael here Listening sort of to Francisco lopez, we discussed him at lunch, and smoking, all is well, how are you
A little high
That’s good my refrigerator just turned back on
So much excitement everywhere
Its hum is drowning out an actual event
That’s two events you are so lucky
Its three events now, thank you
Why don’t you come over
Over to where
My place which you have yet to see
I will be there in about 30 mins things are just ending here
I take a puff of the cigar. The needle is still bumping up and down in the leadout groove of the single.
I write: No lets get together Monday
I get up and lift the dust cover, carefully pick up the needle, return the tonearm and click the button to turn the platter off.
Oh come on youre still going to be awake for at least 3 hours. dont fall asleep when youre smoking
I am delighted to be hearing from you as always but why don’t we have dinner first next week
I really like you and want this to start well
It did start well
This started well certainly but I would like that to start well – besides you never contact your first choice at midnight, you call like the fourth choice
Youre not the fourth choice
The first choice was at like 9 pm, then three or four at the club. My advice is find choice one and make it happen and if it doesn’t get choice two and if that doesn’t go it’s time for tobacco and junk food
I would have invited you but was too intimidated mr big dance guy
I was the worst dancer in that thing and would have been in your thing too
Out of here
Good luck I realy like you lets talk Monday
I meant to say really
I take a pull on the cigar and get a breath of stale nastiness. It went out. There’s at least two inches and twenty minutes left and then I think I am going to have another. I am going to replay the Lopez single but the refrigerator is still going. I head into the galley kitchen, climb up on the counter, peer behind the refrigerator, reach my hand in, strain until I feel the plug, twist it out which wrenches my shoulder, drop the plug and head back to the sofa. I should make a reminder to plug it back in when I go to bed.
I check the phone and see no response. I text Gord, are you smoking, clip the wet end from the cigar, relight it and puff it until it’s going again. I click on the turntable and as the platter is spinning, decide to head to the bathroom for a moment.
Back to the table, I wait for the sound of the toilet refilling to stop, then drop the needle in the lead groove, sit back down and start smoking again. As the music starts, I grab the phone from the table, check it and there are no messages. I open the string with Sophie and type you were right, where are you now then delete the text without sending it, type it again and delete it. I lean back on the sofa and take another puff, turning my left ear, the good one, to listen to the quiet boom from the speakers.