People and their machines

Recent entries in these pages (see sidebar) have resulted in a flurry of stories (OK, two stories) describing others' experiences when they have considered replacing one of their machines.

Here is the latest from Nancy:

Worse yet, I've been tempted to start shopping for a new car. I should never dare have a thought of this around the 4-Runner or the Integra. Is it best to have my friends drive me to the dealers for test drives? ...

The old Accord sensed it years ago when I was so enchanted by the deep aqua MR 2. The upset Accord must have made a deal with the abused mini-van. That car in it's depression became suicidal and opted to exit with the amazing built in talent that it had, sacrificing itself head on into the side of the mini-van with it's accordion maneuver.

I better start taking the bus.

Machines do seem to have an uncanny ability to sense what their humans are thinking or feeling. We've all experienced it — the copy machine that runs out of toner when we most desperately need copies; the ATM machine that is out of order just when we most need cash; the computer that betrays our trust by crashing when we've imprudently gone too long without saving our file; and so on.

The moral is plain: ignore machine ESP at your peril!