Jane brushed her hair back from her temples, placed her elbows on the table. “Is that why we’re still driving around in the same type of cars that have been around for half a century? Why the only options for getting outside the city, is to drive or take a plane? Because we’re too comfortable living in this world, to think about whether how we get around makes any sense, and wonder if there might be better options?”
Brad returned to the table, a goblet of wine cupped in his right hand. Jane shifted toward the end of her bench, scrunching the winter jackets together, but when she looked up Brad was motioning for Arjie to make room for him. Brad noticed Jane glaring at him, then turned and shrugged nonchalantly. “More room on this side.” The bearded actuary sat on the bench next to Arjie.
Jane slid her right arm across the table, grabbed Brad’s right forearm. “Maybe you know.” She held up her smartphone. “Why is it that we have these things, and computers, and the Internet and all that — all in the last fifty years — but transportation’s barely changed in all that time?”
Brad laughed. “That’s simple.” He switched the goblet to his left hand, moved his right hand to hold Jane’s, took a quick sip of his wine. “It’s easier to move data than it is to move people.”
Arjie scoffed. “There’s nothing easy about moving data.”
Brad took another sip of wine, smiled condescendingly at Arjie. “My statement was comparative, not evaluative. I merely said one thing was easier to do than another thing. Lifting a thousand pounds instead of two thousand — both are difficult, but the comparative degree of difficulty is obvious.”
“Connecting computer networks isn’t like lifting weights, pal.” Arjie sounded indignant.
“Hey!” The two men stared back at Jane’s abrupt outburst. “I’m sorry I brought up the subject. Let’s just move on.”
Brad took another sip of wine. “Good idea.” Arjie excused himself, waited for Brad to get up, walked swiftly towards the restroom. Brad sat down, reached over the table and grabbed Jane’s forearm. “Glad he finally gave us a moment. We gotta talk.”