Sprite and I had been discussing a chart of facial expressions depicting emotions and then how the pictures could be written in text format to create emoticons
We were reading the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon and discussing the difference between the side-on emoticons and the Asian ASCII images which can be read without tilting the head. We were interested in the fact that the Asian emoticons were chiefly expressed by varying the characters used for the eyes whereas the Europeans put more emphasis on the mouth.
“It looks as if Picasso was putting side on AND front on emoticons on his portraits!” said Sprite. She had been playing with her Paint like Picasso kit which she was given at her P Party.
“Look!” I said “A Russian man tried to put a trademark on the wink emoticon!”
“I don’t like Winks” said Sprite.
”Why?” I asked.
“I never know what they mean!” she said. “Sometimes it feels like people are talking behind your back if they wink at each other and don’t include you. I don’t know whether they are talking about me or about something only they know about or about a secret they have with each other.
And when they wink at me I don’t know whether they are happy to see me or being encouraging or referring to some secret I am supposed to have with them and don’t remember.
And sometimes people wink when they trying to flirt and I don’t know if they are doing that and whether it would be appropriate to wink back or not.
Or maybe they just have a bit of grit in their eye”
” And it seems to mean different things if they wink once or wink twice. Sometimes they even say ‘Wink, wink!’ in a sneaky sort of voice as if they are doing something they should not be doing.
I’m never sure whether I missed seeing the first wink or if there is another one coming and I don’t want to stare at them to count the winks because maybe they have some sort of facial tic and can’t help winking and they don’t mean anything at all when they wink.”
I wanted to tell her about the significance of the wink in the film ‘I, Robot’ but I just didn’t have the energy for a full scale debate about physics, ethics and emotions in robots.