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The Deprecation of Glade 9

Date: 6-Feb-2012/9:56+3:00

Tags: , , , ,

Characters: me, her, man, him

I had walked with my parents out of something onto a road. I had a feeling it was in the town where they grew up, we were on a street called "7th" at the intersection with something like "River". I didn't know which direction to go, and it seemed they didn't either, so we somehow decided to stop for directions in a house. We also needed some water.
My memory lapses a little here of how it was that I got into the house and was drinking some water while leaning over a table, nearly lying on it. There were some chunks of thick beige carpeting on the table and I was leaning so far forward my body was on it. Becoming self-conscious, I leaned back off the table to stand up and apologized to a black woman who was there looking at me.
me: "Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to waltz into your house, take advantage of your hospitality, and then climb up all over your kitchen table."
her: "Nothing to worry about, here."
An older man started talking to me about his time as a soldier in World War II. I kept bending and turning my ear toward him because I was having a really hard time making out what he was saying due to his accent. Moving my head and tilting it had a more profound effect on the audibility than I'm used to.
Fully realizing I was dreaming, I looked at how the table with the carpet on it sort of had distortions like I was looking at it through a fisheye lens. Then things began to sharpen up and the room felt unusually solid.
An attractive woman in the kitchen caught my attention. She looked at me and approached for a kiss, and we started becoming intimate despite the other people in the room. I just went with it, until she and another girl walked out into an adjacent oom to get something. When they came back it was with translucent plastic ties that were longer and fatter than ordinary ones:
I realized she wanted to bind my hands and feet with them as a sexual bondage game, and I approved of that. But they seemed concerned about hurting me. We didn't speak, but one girl pulled the tie a bit while watching me with a "say when" look. I nodded that it was not uncomfortable...so she went to the next ankle, but realizing that the sensations were becoming a bit out of control and unstable I had a bit of a panic about what effect it was having on my circulation.
me: "I like this but I'll wake up if we're not careful. Maybe there should be scissors or something around, just in case?"
She got up to what I assumed was getting the scissors. But as soon as she got up the ties unraveled like wet spaghetti, and she did not return. I was tangled in the spaghetti but they were loose and I managed to get them off my feet, and I decided to get up and walk after her.
me: "Sorry if any of that was inappropriate; I dunno. I wonder always about what's appropriate or inappropriate in dreams. What's your name?"
her: (smiling) "If you feel like it, you can call me Brian. We all are, more or less...so don't worry about what you're accustomed to worrying about."
A man seated on the couch addressed me.
man: "The scope of everything going on with you has turned out to be beyond what we knew. I'd never even heard of this 'realityhandbook', or I would have done something about it a long time ago. But I didn't realize how important that girl was to you."
me: "Who are you talking about? What girl?"
man: "That one who's going to the vigilante meetings."
Note There was a fleeting vision of someone with long red hair that I didn't quite recognize offhand--not a person I know in real life. I got a vague sense that she was a bit like the character Sophie from the Truman Show, who was dragged away to "Fiji" and who campaigned that Truman should not be kept captive in a false reality...and that's what these vigilante meetings were about.
me: "You can intervene in alternate realities? Then why does this house look so...mundane? You just look like ordinary people."
man: "We only use it as an interface, but it covers up incredible amounts of verification code that keeps it all stable and running. If we didn't pare all that down perceptually, you'd smell how much the copper stinks--for instance."
me: "Copper stinking? You mean like, an actual smell?"
man: "Nevermind. But I guess you want to see some 'technology' before you're satisfied...okay, fine. We've got a Glade 9 in this zone."
Objects started dematerializing and materializing Tron-like into the room...but starting with wave-like patterns instead of outlines. I walked up to the items and began tapping them to see how solid they were. An item thing that appeared was a 3-D style television with a tremendous screen and physical depth that made it more like an aquarium.
man: "You argued with me when my team was designing the Glades...saying it was the wrong methodology. It might amuse you that nowadays I see it your way, so these aren't too common in the field. The current state of the art is based on your ideas."
Sound in the room began to boom where I couldn't be heard, as inside the TV-type-device some strange movie or demonstration began playing. The animations and live-action inside of it were surreal complicated. One portion had the various stages of a man in a rabbit suit eating a carrot and being morphed fluidly into a cartoon rabbit eating a carrot, and various other stages in-between.
me: (frantically) "Okay this is really intense, and it's loud. If you don't turn it off I'm going to wake up."
No one could hear me. I tried various combinations of shouting "Glade 9 off!" as if it were voice controlled, and trying to find people who would talk to me again. My running caught someone's attention.
me: "You all talk about me as if you know me. But how do you know I'm who you think I am, if I don't remember any of you? What's with this continuity of identity?"
man: "I think you're quite aware that's a deep existential question...what does 'identity' ever mean in any context?!"
me: "Granted. But you keep using it to mean something here. Are you talking about soul goo that somehow was preserved by being poured from one body into another across a reincarnation? Am I a DNA-based clone, a simulation of an ancestor? Or just someone you used to know who's had his memory wiped?"
man: (laughing) "Ah yes, 'soul goo'. Well that's not entirely a wrong way of looking at it. In fact, none of those ways you suggest are. But it's a blind man and the elephant sort of thing, none of them are fully right either, you're blind so you don't know."
me: "So what's the identity elephant, then?"
man: "You're a decrypted copy, and there's plenty of continuity involved...it's not simply 'DNA'. At first you were believed to be the only one in existence. But we now think there's another one out there, and that created a technical and legal nightmare. Only one of you is supposed to be running at a time, and it is looking almost certain the law is going to rule in your favor against the companies responsible for what happened...which will make the two of you extremely wealthy entities."
I was still following him around the room, into closets and back to a main living area.
me: "For the sake of argument, let's say I'll grant you can build holographic VR and maybe even copy people and sue people over it. Then where's my 'original'?"
him: (frowning sadly) "Dead."
me: "Did he die a natural death?"
He got a bemused, but faraway look on his face.
him: "We're not talking about 'him', we're talking about you. And absolutely no, it was very NOT natural. Catastrophically so."
me: "Well, what happened to 'me'?"
him: (grimacing) "You were trapped hanging in vertical for the better part of a quarter, because... how can I put this... the root lemma was that it demanded you write a letter to grandma."
me: "Huh? What does that mean? What is 'IT'?"
He smirked again, seemingly not wanting to go into details.
him: "A lot like the 'IT' in -- 'It she kiss.'"
One place I've seen this kind of word order is from a Strong Bad email:
When I heard it...the phrase gave me a creepy familiar feeling, that it was something out of a book or movie. Like a powerful alien says the phrase, but has a fundamental misunderstanding of both English and human bio/sexuality. While trying to say "I'd like to be your lover and give you a kiss" it creepily comes out talking in a convoluted way, and by virtue ends up killing you on accident by eating you or suffocating you or otherwise demonstrating its 'affection'. It's just a feeling, and I'm sure something like it I've seen in a sci-fi movie somewhere, can't put my finger on it though.
me: "Why does that sound familiar to me? Where is it from, a book?"
him: "Yes, it's said by the monster in a story. The one where they were flying a ship and had to bend space phantoms and all that. I just thought you'd recognize the reference."
I kept following him around the room, though he seemed like he changed into other people as I did.
me: "If you have all this technology then why wouldn't things be safe? Why wouldn't everyone just be immortal?"
him: "Because it's not possible to be immortal."
me: "Well what about with all the post-singularity Aubrey-de-Gray stuff, about people getting a bit of life extension and then it gets them to the next medical breakthrough? Wouldn't that at least be possible?"
him: "You can live longer that way for sure, but there's constant vulnerability. The dangers around you evolve and advance too...the universe is a seething turmoil at all times. It's really, really complicated, and you're going to have to take my word on that."
Pacing after I thanked everyone for their kindness and tried to pose one more question, but awoke.
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The accounts written here are as true as I can manage. While the words are my own, they are not independent creative works of fiction —in any intentional way. Thus I do not consider the material to be protected by anything, other than that you'd have to be crazy to want to try and use it for genuine purposes (much less disingenuous ones!) But who's to say?