Why was I having these unchristian thoughts you ask? I’m sure you could’ve figured that out if you happen to be one of the big tech companies that my menstrual cycle app sells my data to.

Unread terms and conditions aside, the nurse left me a little disappointed. I don’t mean in terms of not decreasing the risk of the viral infection attacking my central nervous system, but in terms of boy cuteness. It was a middle-aged woman.

As I left the vaccine center, I wondered if the disappointment was perhaps my fault, and not the nurse’s. Maybe I was the one who hadn’t adjusted my expectations to reality. So, when I got home, I asked ChatGPT:

“What are the odds that a cute male nurse, aged 25-32 and physically attracted to women, is the one to vaccinate you against TBE?”

ChatGPT answered that it could not provide an accurate calculation due to the subjective nature of my question. It also got on its cognitive computing moral high horse (not unlike those baristas who ask if you want oat milk or cow milk) and added that it believed that I oversimplified the human experience.

This passive aggressive answer made me think of an extract from Jean Paul Sartre’s book Being and Nothingness. One day, Sartre went to a café to meet his friend Pierre. However, when he spotted that Pierre wasn’t there, suddenly, the only thing Sartre could see was his absence. The French philosopher was so struck by the negation of Pierre that it overwhelmed the entire spectacle of the café. Yet, it was only by expecting to see Pierre, that he became so sad that he didn’t.

This quite traumatic experience got Sartre to conclude that the absence of something can become the focal point of our perception, and as we confront the void left by that expectation, it will inevitably lead us to question the nature of our reality and existence.

My vaccinated arm started aching, and I let out a deep sigh. I felt the need to explain myself and started typing out a response to Chat GPT:

“I’m only human, okay? Sometimes I wish for cute boys, and sometimes I choose cow milk. I’m not oversimplifying the human experience, I’m living it.”

Dora Tolstoy columnist_nr2-Levien Willemse – Pauline Wiersema

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