It was a mildly sunny Saturday in Silicon Valley. I, enjoying the nearly abandoned streets of a downtown. I walk looking, absorbing what the city landscape has to share, up at the tall buildings, down at the blackest of pavements, side to side at the exquisite, secured lobbies. Block after block, street after street, past blue windowed hotels, benches with arm rests in the center so the homeless cannot sleep on them, small city parks nestled between corporate headquarters.

As I approach an intersection, my eyes catch a glimpse of two teenage boys walking in my direction on the opposite block. Arms flailing to illustrate a point impressive only to themselves, they walk hunched forward in the manner that exudes laziness and fast food summer jobs. This is a manner I dispise, I remind myself. I cross the street at my brisk but restrained pace, still looking inquisitively at the city surroundings. An inadvertant glance ahead lets me know that one of the duo is sporting a used black bowling shirt, used white name patch included; the kind of shirt obtained from a second hand store catering to teens who need unique clothes to stand out and fit in. They are still engrossed in whatever tale they are relating when they spot me approaching. The voices fall, the arm movements cease. The thought that needs no expression, "look who's coming", snaps into their appearance as quickly as their former selves fade.

I can feel the snide comment coming. feel it. I focus my eyes ahead and shift my stride to pass them by on the left, but can't help but issue a few self-annoyed but non-confrontational side glances. I'm not by nature self conscious, and would like to think I've risen above the level of placing importance on how society sees me, not to mention feeling more intellectually advanced than these two. However, I have to admit to myself that I'm curious to see what they've come up with, what word or phrase they will use to attempt to defile me in a moment's time. They wait until just after our shoulders pass each others to unleash their comment:



The corners of my mouth rise and my lips part slightly as I smile my little android smile.