The huge Sun Microsystems Sunrise reunion was hosted in a massive chain hotel in a major US city. It was almost as if the heady days of the dot.com boom had never ended.
My boat was so late docking in port that by the time I reached the venue nearly everyone was already dressed in their DJs and ballgowns, all ready for the no-expense-spared evening of feasting, dancing, and other entertainment. I didn’t have much time to reach my hotel room and get changed. There was also the question of my missing dancing shoes (no replacements found in the antique shop).
After much time wasted trailing the many corridors of the hotel, I realised that I simply couldn’t remember my room number. I found TPR in the same predicament. Together, we found the hotel reception desk. Here we were directed to a rude receptionist bot that did everything it could to dismiss enquiries, even those of the disabled – in this case a cheerful disembodied head in a pushchair. When our time came, I made my responses to her questions so difficult to understand in my English accent, that human agents took over the bot interface. I eventually confirmed my identify by explaining the difficulty of plagiarising final year essays in the UK HE system when assessment strategies are well designed.
Towards the end of our interview with the human version of the receptionist bot, I was told that there was one final question. However, I had to answer it with my husband out of earshot.
‘Do you know Simon Moore?’, she asked.
Of course I did. Moore had been pursuing me for months! It was only then that I realised that he had also booked into the hotel and would be waiting to pounce on me at the first possible moment.