Photograph by Eric Carlson

A remote-controlled talking robot accosts an innocent cigar smoker with a series of irritating questions. "Why are you standing there?" "Is that a cigar in your hand?" "Cuban?" The human kept his silence for the most part - though he did admit it wasn't a Cuban.

I myself was queried by the robot. "What's in the bag?" (I was carrying a camera bag). I confess that I was discomfited by the robot, and failed to respond with a "bon mot" of my own. In fact, I smiled nervously and scuttled away. Shy and crab-like.

I later walked by former mayor Tom McEnery and Redevelopment Honcho Frank Taylor as they were sitting on a park bench on the Paseo de San Antonio. Again, I did not engage in conversation. My second "chicken-out" of the day.