People and robots can be friends. The tweenbots experiment encourages the better side of humankind.

I’ve long suspected that many of the store-front fortune tellers scattered throughout NYC might actually be facades for brothels to those in the know. These ragtag little setups almost always are run by young women whose ages seem to range from their teens to early thirties, but never older. Often, the entrances to the setups require a trip through a seedy stairwell. The ones at street level usually seem to utilize only a fragment of a larger space which is curtained off to the public. Within a few blocks of my brownstone are several of these spots. The first real indication that the palm reader around the corner might be a prostitute was that she would persistently ask me if I wanted my fortune told, day in and day out. Patterns began to emerge. She would only attempt to indulge me in her services if I walked by alone. Then came the pregnancies. Every nine months or so it was clear that she was yet again an expecting mother. She has now been pregnant so many times that I’ve lost count. Last night on my way home from dinner, I noticed the detail that would certainly substantiate my suspicions. Parked in front of the storefront was a glitzy candy-apple red Bentley. Two large goons dressed in suites flanked the entrance to the building. Almost as if I were watching a slow-motion scene in a movie, a large figure also dressed in a suite appeared from the gaudy vehicle and stepped through the doorway.

 

Plenty of people have claimed to have spotted Elvis. But really, I did see him. He wasn’t picking up his dry cleaning and I didn’t see him at the drive through car wash. Nor was this an apparition of him that had sizzled it’s way onto a slice of bread like Jesus toast. Elvis goes to my gym in Brooklyn. I had never seen him there before, so I guess we are just on different schedules. He looked great and thinner than many of us remember him. He still has a penchant for wearing oversized sunglasses indoors and sports the old zip up suite. I’d say he appeared to be in his late 60’s so the gym is doing him well since he was born in 1935. Honestly. I am not crazy. My girlfriend asked if I noticed him and pointed him out. My jaw dropped. Elvis goes to my gym, holy shit!

 

I’ve been waking up in the early hours of the morning to make it to the gym before the rush. I had been very undisciplined with the frequency that I was using my membership, but I have to say that I am rather elated with how it has boosted my daily work productivity and inspiration. And the other big plus about being an early riser is that the gym tends to be more like a graveyard, thereby avoiding other people’s strange locker-room behavior like clipping toe nails on the bench or waxing their nipples in front of the mirror nude. It’s much more preferable when it looks like the snapshot below.

Today, I stopped by the hardware store to pickup up some spackle which cost $3.99. I handed the clerk four singles to which he gave me the correct amount of change of one penny. I signaled that I didn’t need the penny back, thank you. And at that point an elderly gentleman interjected with a straight face that he once bought a Mercedes Benz using pennies that he had collected. He then raised his eyebrow as if to say “true story” and turned about to walk in the other direction.

For some random reason, I just remembered an odd observation I made a few weeks ago on a subway ride. I was sitting adjacent to two young women in their mid-twenties whose faces I can’t recall. I had taken notice of their fast-paced conversation that was taking place in sign language. As their hands frantically drew words back and forth, I could hear the mouthed echo of the two women conversing over the drowning sound from my headphones. The music from my ipod played like a soundtrack to the scene. I noticed that the women were so involved in whatever it was they were discussing, that a baby belonging to one of them went completely unattended in a stroller. I watched on as the doors to the subway which was parked in a station came to a close. And seemingly in slow-motion the train launched forward with a powerful jerk and the child’s stroller rolled backwards several feet down the aisle. Quicker than I could react, I had envisioned the stroller zipping to the far end of the car and coming to a crash. In one spontaneous swoop, the deaf mother spun around and nabbed her child with arms that appeared to extend several yards. Casually, she placed the stroller back into position locking the breaks on the wheels this time and returned to her conversation.