Saturday, August 11, 2018

2084 Part 3

Sanka and Corolla want me to wear clothes for the first Big Mother's meeting but Jake thinks I should honor tradition and wear a notox. I remember wearing clothes until I was twelve. I even saved a pair of blue jeans that the kids found absolutely hilarious. It took so little.

On January 1, 2080 Earthkeep announces that the planet is free of toxins and that that it's safe worldwide to ditch the notox. Most of South America and Europe were fine around 2075 but the vote was for solidarity with the denizens of the, yet to be, clean regions. The kids went berserk. Sanka dressed like Sam Spade, replete with fedora, or he'd combine a Hawaiian shirt with velvet knickers. Corolla was all 1920s, sporting beaded dresses, felt hats and t-strap shoes. Now they both have Wearware although they sometimes tweak the recommendations to add a bit of personal flare.

Jake barely remembers wearing clothes. He refused to buy any four years ago and considered it madness the way his students suddenly care about little else. Of course, matriotically, he wears elaborate outfits on New Year's Clean Day. He scoffed at Wearware when I subscribed but once in a while we can coax him out of a notox with a handsome jacket or soft sweater.

The older members of the Council mostly wear notoxes. Most of the younger members wear clothes. I'm smack in the middle. I side with the children. “Two against one,” I tell Jake. I run my cuff over the Wearware, and, meticulously tuned into the import of the occasion, I'm given a few divine choices. I choose a fluffy sky blue dress and gray boots. Although there's also a flowered pantelone thing in which I would be fetching. While Jake was really rooting for a notox, he grabs my fanny and whispers, “not bad...” when I kiss him goodbye.

But for a few older women in notox (a couple in the real old fashioned ones) most of the Mamas are wearing clothes for this session. I spoke to The Table a few years ago but even knowing what to expect, the room is stunning. I'd been one of those who'd thought that the Harry Potter inspiration was trivializing, but as I enter, I realize that it's one of the most soulfully whimsical places on the planet.

Everyone crosses cuffs for the recitation of Remember. I'd only really learned the abridged version that the kids memorized.

The world was nearly destroyed. Religion and greed and fear poisoned the earth. The Mothers said “No!”

We share this planet.
What is used is replenished.
We live our lives with purpose and at peace.

The middle section is much less familiar.

We strive to know what is better not invented,
and is better done with our loving minds, hearts and hands.

By its nature, happiness is fleeting.
We aspire instead for satisfaction and meaning, each of us committed to bettering the other and the universe.

The order of the day is to study proposals to change the settings on Cuffs for children under twelve, yet another tweak to improve our (longer than our predecessors') lives. I'm ok with kids not getting their Cuffs until they're five but the Pureness faction is encouraging us to raise the age to ten. I think that this would be a real impediment to education and social growth but I'll listen with an open mind. Back when there were no restrictions, Corolla got her first Cuff at age three. They didn't even have age appropriate versions at the time but she was just fine. And I have to admit it, my life was a lot easier when her mental and physical health was constantly monitored.

By the time Sanka was three, Pureness was already completing their blue prints for paleo child development. We put it off getting Sanka's Cuff until he was five. This is just anecdotal, but not having a Cuff to register Sanka's emotions or stave off boredom, his early years were a lot more unpleasant for all of us than were Corolla's. Nevertheless, when Sanka was three, the average life expectancy was 120. Since Earthkeep completed the last phase of Clean and Improve, it's shot up to 133 so I guess it's ok to hold off on Cuffs until 5. I'm not having any more children so it's not my problem anyway.

The session begins with historical background on the Cuff. It's so weird to be so old that my memories are now history. The first version came out when I was about 8 but I don't think I got one until, what was then called, 6th grade. The early version was just sort of a souped up smart phone that monitored your blood chemistry and told you what to eat and to get up off your ass. It was only a little thought responsive so it was about ten years until it was fit for more than just basic tasks and communication. The younger Mamas are riveted. And some of the elders start to nod until their Cuffs gently remind them to look alert.

There's not a lot of controversy about the data which affirms that the optimal age for a child to begin wearing a Cuff is 5 and I expect the People's vote will also favor the upper age limit, probably even those with young children. If I had a 3 year old I would likely vote against it. My Cuff helps guide me to not betray my lack of compassion.

The roof of the Assembly room rises at lunch time. They've chosen a woodsy d├ęcor with the aroma of sweet pine tar and campfires. There are trays laden with fresh purple gravage and pinareo. While I scan the room looking for a place to sit, a whisper, “I've been distracted by you and that garment all morning.” It's Golightly Asherman. “'re blushing. That's so cute. Does Jake share?” I stand there like an idiot, groping unsuccessfully for a snappy retort. Realizing how absurd it is to be so stricken for wont of an pithy response, I burst into laughter. And then Golightly, aware that I'd been bereft of snappy patter, laughs even harder than I, as she guides me to her table.

No comments: