My wife and I have a problem.
Well, I mean, not a problem, per se. We are “of divided opinions”.
She wants to have a baby. I want to program. The two are obviously incompatible.
And it’s not that she doesn’t like to program, she loves it very much, coding away her will and command; it’s just, she also wants to have a kid.
We went to a marriage counselor. The psychologist looked at me like I was crazy and said that the desire to have a baby is a natural human quality, but the desire to program is not a natural human quality. Well, one thing’s for sure, he’s not getting any more of my money.
I took her to the hospital to the place where they keep all the babies. I had thought that the sight of dozens of screaming amorphous lumps will sober her up. Instead, she literally melted. Every additional screaming amorphous lump she saw made her eyes grow even puppier. It turns out it’s a maternal instinct or something, to turn into a dripping puddle at the sight of screaming amorphous lumps. We eventually left – I mean, the staff drove us out yelling “how the hell did you get in here?!” – with the sole achievement of further increasing her desire for a child.
I reminded her that potential employers frown upon pregnant women. I noted that while “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me”, no prophet ever foretold “I compiled programs and linked them up, but they segfaulted against me.” I warned her against the physical dangers embedded in childbirth. I explained that the open source community is full of comments, forums and technical support, but mankind’s source code is proprietary, undocumented, and can only be understood through reverse engineering. I remarked that a git-commit can always be reverted, but you cannot push a baby back into the womb. I elaborated the finest examples and claims, and generally flung such powerful and crushing arguments for my cause, such convincing and uncompromising rhetoric and logic, that she hadn’t even a speck of a chance to refuse them.
She refused them.
She tried to explain something about finding happiness in life and the miracle of childbirth, or something like that, I don’t know, I didn’t really pay any attention. I was confident that I was in the right. Which was too bad, since she was confident that she was in the right.
We had a little bit of a fight over it. Plates were thrown. They were plastic, so nothing broke – I knew buying them would pay off eventually. We agreed to separate for a week and think things through on our own. Well, I mean, she agreed, I didn’t have much of a choice. I rented a room in a tattered downtown hotel. I took my laptop with me, and they had free wifi, so instead of thinking things through on my own, I mostly programmed.
But at night, sitting on the sweat-soaked bed, with the ceiling fan slowly turning as if caught in trance, creaking every three turns, I couldn’t help but think things through on my own. Think about all sorts of things. On kids and the desire to leave a mark in the world. On the meaning of life and the fact that we are just microscopic grains of dust against the vast cosmos. On whether node.js was really the right choice for my server-side. On the joy of seeing your own flesh and blood grow up and learn to walk and talk and decide to get body piercing in dubious places. On whether it’s worth losing the woman you love for code. On whether it’s better to use a red-black tree or an AVL.
For many an hour, I sat.
Thoughts flowed through and around me, and with them, answers.
After a week I came home. She hadn’t changed the locks!
“I have a solution!” we both said at the same time.
“You first!” we both said at the same time.
Ok, in these cases you need to choose a random number between 1 and 20 and wait that amount of seconds. I chose 4, which is the standard random number according to IEEE. She chose a larger one.
“I was such an ass,” I said.
“Yes, you were an ass,” she said. “But I have a solution.”
“It’s so obvious.”
“It feels so right.”
“All this time, it was just sitting right in front of us.”
“Where did this stupid idea come from that the desire to have a baby and the desire to program are mutually incompatible?”
“Why not combine the love of kids with the love of bits?”
“It’s such a wonderful idea! I’m so happy you think like I do!”
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Let’s go do it, right now!”
And so, my wife and I embarked on the most magical journey that a man and a woman can experience as a couple: writing together our first artificial intelligence.