It’s drizzling a little when we leave Cairn Street for the Egg Cafe for filling veggie lunch. When we cycle off to the Albert Dock and the Tate Gallery, it’s raining quite convincingly. We dismount to lock our bikes to the boundary chain of the car park. An Agent of the Matrix appears from nowhere (a glitch?). Wow, is he really wearing shades? Its raining!
“Please don’t lock your bikes to that chain” the agent says. In a Scouse accent. We look up, questioningly. “People are always locking their bikes to the chain. It damages the paintwork”. I am taken aback. this is not Matrixy at all. I did not know there were Scouse Agents.
My brother, forever helpful, suggests that if people are always locking their bike here it might indicate the need for a bike rack here. To which Agent says “This is not really a cycle park….there are places to part your bike over the bridge”.
I can hear the Agent’s own faint embarassment in his voice. “This is not really a cycle park”. Fuck. I am programmed better than this.
The Agent resents that he is tasked with preventing wet hippies from parking their bikes where they are not supposed to. He would rather be doing cool slow motion Kung Fu fighting with Neo and Trinity even though he would inevitably get his ass kicked. He would always be regenerated. He could never really die. The binary was backed up. His existence would have meaning. Respect.
Not like this. This. This is like a waking death. Pacing around Albert Dock. instructing teenagers to get off their skateboards. Chastising people for dropping litter. Pointing out where the loos are to red faced wincing women. Making sure bikes are parked in the designated zone. Worse than death. It just goes on and on.
He wonders if the male human would fight if he was challenged, if he would bend and curve around the code like Neo does. He tilts his head to see, but the two humans have already cycled off, eager to get out of the rain.