This is going to be another one of those “Tanya, speak before you think, you foolish little girl” blog entries. But you can’t blame me for that right? It just happens to be what I do best.
Although I can’t really take the credit for this one. It was my gorgeous Sri Lankan friend, V, who had baited me. She baited me, and I had taken the bait, and this had resulted in people sighing at me and saying, “Tanya, Tanya, Tanya,” for infinity and beyond.
It was a bright early morning at school and we were doing our very last and final TOK presentation. I can’t be bothered explaining this, because it will be very uninteresting for you to know all the details, so just think of it like a debate.
My group consisted of me and An, and our topic was artificial intelligence and robots in medicine and surgery. Because this was the last presentation (and practically an exam; Mrs. S was video-recording us, so the footage could be sent to the IB), my dad was here, which I was terrifically excited about. Finally, he would see what an amazing student I was, so dedicated and brilliant and amazing at public speaking.
Although he knew all this already. Right? I mean, come on, he’s my dad.
Anyway, after our debate finished, it was time for the Q&A from the floor. The audience included our classmates, some parents, and students from the year below us. One question which I remember the most with startling clarity is my friend V’s.
V was sitting on the front row, watching our presentation with a cute little furrow on her forehead, trying to decipher exactly what we were trying to say. P was sitting right next to her, and was also nodding her head in a pensive manner.
Suddenly, I see V put her hand up. I’m excited, although a little anxious, hoping I can answer the question and praying that my research can allow me to do so. What I wasn’t expecting, was this:
“Okay, this is probably going to sound a little weird, but what is your opinion on robots used for sexual reasons?”
I’m pretty sure that the entire room gasped out loud. If I had seen Mrs. S’s face (she was in the back of the room), I am certain it would have elicited an open mouth, and goldfish-like expression of horror and shock. P, in the front row, meanwhile smiled and shook her head sadly at me. I think she was expecting something like this to happen.
Now that I think about it, I think it was a good thing this question came from a star student like V, and not any of the others. Mrs. S was so surprised, that she could not say anything, and I had ample time to answer the question.
Which I wished I hadn’t.
The room was tinkering with uncomfortable laughter, and V was still waiting nonchalantly for my answer, and I said, giggling to myself, “Well, if it malfunctions in the middle then….”
Aside from the roaring in my ears that I usually get when I’m up on stage, I’m pretty sure everyone gasped again and the uncomfortable laughter turned into hysterical.
V snorted too, and then she said, “Because you know, things like this happen in Japan a lot, they have all these sex toys and such. I read about it in this article and apparently it’s all the rage!”
I nodded knowledgeably, because I knew exactly what she was talking about. Then I opened my big mouth and said, “Well, I mean, personally, I think that they’re only used by people that can’t find girlfriends and wives and such…”
Which is exactly when I was cut off by Mrs. S, who thought this could not get any more inappropriate. I was all set to have a long drawn out discussion with V about this, but Mrs. S had had enough.
I had also forgotten that my father was in the midst of the audience. Uh-oh.
Thankfully, my dad is one of those cool but awkward people. I know that is quite an oxymoron, but when faced with topics such as these he often just becomes extremely silent and tries to change the subject quickly.
An example would be that one day my brother came home from school, all excited because he had learnt about puberty in school. At dinner time, my mom, proud that my brother had learnt so much kept asking him questions, while I listened, dumbfounded that my eleven-year old brother knew more about menstrual cycles than I did.
I also happened to glance at my dad who sat at the head of the table. And I must admit, he was so flustered by this dinner-time discussion, that his attempts at changing the subject were positively feeble.
“So, we had a really detailed drawing in our Biology book, which was all labelled, and there was a picture of these two people… and they were, you know… doing it”
“Pass the potatoes,” my dad said, obviously uncomfortable, but trying to hide it.
“…and the menstrual cycle is twenty eight days and there are millions of sperm, and they need to be streamlined so they can reach the egg faster…..”
“Any more cucumber slices left?” my dad again, awkwardly.
“… and they showed us everything, the presentation was so informative…”
“Ahem. I think I need water,” my dad.
While my mom sat marvelling at the range of my brother’s knowledge, I quietly giggled to myself.
After that TOK presentation was over, and we came home, I asked my dad what he thought of it. He said it was quite good, but nothing outstanding. I smiled to myself and said, “What did you think of V’s question?”
My dad turned around, “Which one was V?”
I replied, casually, “The one who asked that question about the sex robots.”
His eyes narrowed at me, and he said, “Oh, well, yeah, that question. Um, personally, I think that question Mrs. S asked about robots used in mining was very good. I liked that question. Um. Is dinner ready yet? Ask your mom. Go help her.”
I love my dad. 🙂