What a sad, lonely day when I walk through the park

and a young man cuts the grass on the trail up ahead

all he does is pause to loosen a clump of wet grass but he makes a point to smile and wave as I pass

yet one day I think that man cutting the grass won’t be a man it will be a machine

with sensors and cameras and a digital brain

and while it’s tempting for the park service to save money and do that it means

the young man with not many skills will have to do something else

and what a sad, lonely day when I walk down the trail and pass the machine:

it doesn’t stop, smile or wave

the machine just goes on cutting the grass.

Categories: poetry, writing

Tags: ,

17 replies

  1. Had an urban version of this last week.
    Bought a couple of Ts from Uniclo, completely human free. Pop any number of items into the tub built into the plastic checkout and it scans and brings up the cost on a credit card reader. Quick and easy.
    A young woman with a shop name badge stood and watched me pop the purchases into a bag I’d brought for the purpose. Thank you for shopping with us today, she said. The machine stayed silent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well… the big corporate grocery store near me has a robot that cruises around doing something, I’m not really sure what, and it draws a smile out of me every time I see it. But your point is taken. Without cashiers and taxi drivers and bank tellers, etc, moving through the world becomes increasingly lonely. Plus, all those people need to work *somewhere*. Maybe the lawn robot will be programmed with a personality (like Alexa) and us lonely people can trick ourselves into believing we have friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The machine won’t be able to appreciate the beauty of the grass either, or know the satisfaction of a job well done. It won’t be able to stop and assist someone who needs help, and a machine will never be able to use the time spent on a simple task to consider an unrelated problem. These are just a few reasons turning over even small jobs to machines don’t make our lives better.
    I’m also reminded of the closing lines of a Ray Bradbury short story:
    Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last
    voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble
    and steam:
    “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the folklore of many cultures of lawncare, the Grim Reaper is sometimes preceded by the Unsmiling Grass Trimmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yikes! Some of us still wash dishes by hand by choice …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome to the machine, or rage against it, that is the question

    Liked by 1 person

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