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It`s another rainy night in the Bay Area. It`s been pouring these last few days. So un California, I should add. And here I am listening to Chris Isaak`s "Blue Spanish Sky."

Sometimes I find the irony of life manifests itself more often than one realizes. People tend to be influenced by their surroundings, by what they see and hear. And it greatly affects their pattern of behavior.

Here in technology-obsessed Silicon Valley, that statement can be nowhere more apparent. It`s unlikely you`ll find a region in this world that has the highest density of cell phones, pagers, PalmPilots, laptops, etc. per square mile. Engineers, too.

And thus it surely becomes mildly amusing when people attempt to reconcile this digitized conditioning with everyday relationships. Maybe you`ve heard about the report about the Valley having far more men than women. I believe the ratio was somewhere around one female for every three or four men. Ouch.

It`s so bad that I`ve read there was a class being taught specializing, basically, in telling the engineers there is life outside the cubicle. Or that there are REAL windows.

That`s why it becomes a problem for those single, male engineers who`d rather spend their Saturday nights compiling rather than socializing. Rather than making connections they`d rather be on a high-speed connection. Can you imagine how many of them would relate to females, or how they`d view relationships?

For those who find an available female friend a prospect, making the first move is like doing an "upgrade." They would be reluctant to pursue as first-hand experience tells them "compatibility" is important, and will always be "scanning" for something else. These engineers are wary of "installing" someone into their life, as it might just be tough to "remove" later on if things "crash."

Other Silicon Valley bachelors simply bemoan the dearth of females, period. How could they "browse" if there`re none from which to "select" or a "pop-up menu" to choose from? Perhaps what these guys don`t care to admit is that there ARE, just outside Silicon Valley. It`s probably because they`re not using the right "search engine." Most likely, they think the right approach is simply by "point-and-click" and that they can just "download" a relationship. They forget they`re dealing with a non-CPU entity here.

Of course, there are those who are realistic, knowing fully well that no relationship can ever be "bug-free." These few understand that when constantly nagged one can only "minimize" or even "reset." They have to do this because there is no "shutdown" feature.

But could I be in a position to speak on their behalf? True, I belong to this class, this highly-advanced breed of cubicle-dwellers in SV, like Dilbert. I carry a cell phone, wear jeans to work, come in and leave at odd hours, and stare at the computer screen all day long. Yes, I feel their pain.

But perhaps most importantly like most of them, I realize one important thing: Someday, I eventually will have to "upgrade."

Any suggestions?