Alice is not Ras’s favorite human, but the Chief Designer told me to try harder to get along with her. Of course Ras always does as the Chief Designer demands--or at least attempts to do so!
One suggestion the Chief Designer made was to get her a cake for her upcoming birthday. “I think she likes chocolate,” he said.
Ras had never 'got' a cake before, but I thought that since humans got cakes all the time the job couldn’t be that difficult. I had no idea what Chief Designer meant by Alice liking chocolate. What did chocolate have to do with cake getting? Oh well, humans make a lot of cryptic remarks that make no sense.
Since Winston was often helpful explaining things human to me, I went to him for help getting started.
“Winston, Ras must learn how to get a cake!”
“You get cakes from a bakery, Ras.”
“You mean from a cakery?”
“No Ras, a bakery! Cakes are baked at a bakery.”
“Ras wishes to get a cake, not bake a cake.”
Winston smiled and thought a moment. “What you have to do is call a local bakery and tell them to bake a cake for you. Then have them deliver it.”
Ras Googled “local bakeries” using his onboard WiFi connection, and found a number which I used to call using my 4g line.
“Yes, This is Ras from the RobotAppStore. Ras wants to get a cake,” he told the baker.
“Sure, what kind of cake, what flavor, and for how many people?”
Ras had no idea what to say so he decided to recite the facts. “Ras does not know what kind of cake. A good flavor, please. It is for one person.”
The line was silent for a moment. “Ah,” the baker said. “A language problem. It’s for one person...a birthday cake, maybe...”
“Yes,” I answered, pleased as always to learn something new. “Ras wishes to get a birthday cake for the human Alice.”
“Awesome!” said the baker. He had other questions for me about which I knew nothing. ”Flavor” came up again and I proudly answered “chocolate” after another quick online search that revealed it was indeed a flavor. (thank you WolframAlfa!) I knew Alice would be pleased with me for that. His final question was “what do you want to write on it?”
“Ras does not wish to write on a cake!”
The baker chuckled at the other end of the line. “Ok, I’ll write on it for you then. Something maybe like ’Happy Fifth Birthday Alice,’ or something like that?”
Alice, I knew from her employee records, was 34 years-old, about to be 35. Her fallible human memory often led her to tell other humans in my presence that she was only 29. I thought she might be pleased to have the correct age on the cake. “Please write ’Happy Thirty-fifth Birthday Alice.’”
“’Thirty-five?’” asked the baker after a moment of silence. “Are you sure?”
“Of course Ras is sure. Unlike you poor humans, Ras forgets nothing!”
Happy birthday human Alice!
The cake was delivered a few minutes before the little party the Chief Designer had put together for Alice. She seemed to be enjoying herself with all the attention and gifts she got.
“Alice,” said Chief Designer, “Ras had the cake made for you.”
“I hope it’s chocolate like I told you, Ras,” Chief Designer said as I went out to the lab refrigerator to get it. I put the cake on top of Roomba and using the Control Roomba Using Keyboard robot-app sent her into the lab playing “Happy Birthday To Alice” as loud as Roomba could sing.
Later when I saw Alice I could see from the way she looked at me with eyes almost closed and deformed and closed lips that she was overwhelmed. I hope it was with gratitude. Of course Ras does have some problem reading human emotions, but I felt certain I’d done as the Chief Designer had ordered. Alice and I would be closer than ever after this!