Galatea

The kind of attention was deep attention. I had to focus very intently on what questions I was going to ask Galatea. Not focusing on Galatea made it hard to get back into the line of questioning. Talking to, or attempting to talk to, Galatea was incredibly aggravating; however, it was also incredibly enthralling. I was like talking to a real person. Reading a short story can be very boring. Talking to Galatea kept my attention until I got pissed off that none of my questions were written into the code. Most of my questions went as follows, “ask Galatea about *insert noun*” and then she would give an odd response or she would say “I didn’t understand that sentence.” I tried a couple action commands but they didn’t lead anywhere.

hello “Hello,” you say — and stop. What would you say next? ‘I’m a famous critic, be on your best behavior’? There’s no etiquette established; and then it strikes you as strange that you should bother to be concerned. Fortunately, the little awkwardness is lost on her. “Good of you not to walk away again,” she replies. >how are you doing? That’s not a verb I recognize. >What are you? That’s not a verb I recognize. >ask galatea about life “What do you know about life?” you ask her. (General questions: you can almost always find ones that haven’t been anticipated.) “Nothing,” she says, “except what I saw of his; and that seldom made any sense to me. He told me that people are born, and that they die, and that there are stages in between– childhood, adolescence… I asked him why he didn’t carve me as a child so that I could grow up.” There’s a pregnant pause. “I never heard him laugh so hard as when I asked him that. And he said that I certainly had the brain of a child.” The air conditioning hums, sending a ripple through the velvet curtain. >ask Galatea about what she is You can’t form your question into words. You become aware of her breathing — the slight expansion of her ribs, the soft exhalation — natural, and yet somehow studied. “Ah — by the way,” she says, in a way that utterly fails to be casual, “have you seen the artist out there? — My artist, that is.” “No, I don’t think so. What does your artist look like?” “Black hair,” she says, and stops… “Never mind. He’s not here. He wouldn’t have come.” >ask Galatea who her artist is I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask Galatea what she likes I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask Galatea what she sees I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask Galatea what she looks at I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask Galatea what she thinks about I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask Galatea about cheese “I’ve never tried it. But he always said that cheese is addicting. Bad for you, okay. But one of the single greatest inventions of man.” >ask Galatea about wine “Do you ever drink?” “No — I don’t need to eat or drink.” >ask Galatea about animals You can’t form your question into words. >ask Galatea about dogs You can’t form your question into words. >ask galatea about art “What do you know about art?” “In the abstract?” She hunches one shoulder. “Not much. I’ve seen very few pieces: myself, and the murals at the airport — and the latter, I am led to believe, do not quite count.” >ask galatea about war You can’t form your question into words. “He used to talk about his Muses,” she says, evidently following on her own train of thought. “I didn’t know for the longest time what he was talking about. In fact, I still don’t really understand. I never saw them; if they were in the studio with us, they never showed themselves.” >ask galatea about movies You can’t form your question into words. >ask galatea to shake my hand I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask galatea to hug I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask galatea to walk I didn’t understand that sentence. >ask galatea to turn around I didn’t understand that sentence.

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