There are seven robots on Mars. I don’t know what they talk about (if indeed they talk at all), but I’ll warrant that they have an opinion on what I should be doing in my classroom.
I imagine they fart binary at one another, spending most of their time traversing rocky plains. I imagine them timidly holding the hems of their boney skirts as they inch, axis by articulated axis, into and out of a succession of crevassess.
They know nothing of me, but they know better than me. Seven robots: one for every day of a teacher’s working week.
Robot 1 would have me teach from a hymnbook. He wants me on page 57 on day 57 at the same time as teacher 57, when we both reach the 57th and final variety of Heinz – a true end-time when all that ever needed to be taught will have been taught and all that will remain is for us to test all 57 varieties (a taste test, if you will). He will orchestrate this taste test from Mars.
They are my betters, riddled with tardigrades in the full and latent power of a tardigrade’s dormancy.
Robot 2 would have me extrapolate the attainment of my students in a rainbow of alphanumerical psychedelia that shames the manifolds of light. He would wrap my students up in a unit trust of promise; he would sell them now (before now, if he could – he may already have sold them – has he sold them?). This transaction will form the twin arcs of a great eye, from Earth to Mars.
They know me better than I know myself, lodged in their Martian cracks.
Robot 3 would have me teach love, perseverance, drugs, death, sex, patriotism and problem-solving. If anyone can compute me out of this mess, it is he, Robot 3. From his grand and ivory distance, his perspective is so much greater than my own.
When I look into the sky, I see this robot’s eyes – like the eyes of the archangel, Metatron. I tremble in his terrible all-sight.
Robot 4 would have me teach from a book. His algorithms are unassailable.
Robot 5 would have me not teach from a book. His reasoning has the purity that could cut curtains in the multiverse.
Robot 6 would have me be nothing more than a web-page. I’d tell him to do one, if I had the courage of my name (if indeed I could have the courage of a name).
Robot 7 ambles on, oblivious of me. He neither trusts me, nor is he skeptical of me. He does not pretend to know me. How could he? He doesn’t know me.
This robot – this seventh robot of rest.
Well, of course I love him best.