Crossing Ashbury in the streaming rain, I nearly stumbled into the coal gray machine standing on one leg near the gutter. Though the cold wind whipped at our raincoats, Marie felt sorry for the forlorn android frozen in mid step, huddled under its useless solar panel. With honking traffic swerving around
the paralyzed metallic obstacle, she pulled me to a stop in the crosswalk.
Cant we do something? she pleaded and then struggled to push and pull at the orphan bots back crank. Like an old phonograph coming to life, it shuddered and rasped out a weak Thank you and raised a begging, upturned hand. After digging through my pockets, I found a double A to place in the pleading palm.
<idea->In a remarkably quick maneuver, the robot inserted the battery in a chest panel and proceeded to dismount its left leg that was suspended behind it. The three pieces of the rounded foot were placed on the street in front of the right foot, snapped together and the lower leg and then the thigh were also swung forward and connected.
The automaton locked the new leg to its hip, and the weight shift caused it to roll forward onto its left foot. It then rapidly dismantled the right leg and moved it forward.<-idea> We hurried on leaving the lurching, ownerless droid to its fate, feeling some inner warmth in the chilly city.