Back in my day people were free to walk the Earth. Yeah… just like that. You could at any point in time stand up, stop what you were doing and walk outside, you could walk until your legs would burn, and then you could go on for a little while more.
You could get together with anyone from any part of the world and have chat in a cafe, and I’m not talking about those virtual things we have right now, no. If you had enough money and if you were willing to, you could travel the world in vehicles. They were like space ships, except they didn’t go to space, they simply went to other parts of the world, crazy right? And when you travelled the world you could go up to someone over there and say “Hey”, and they’d say “Hey” back, and then you could go talk in person for as long as you wanted, it didn’t matter if day turned to night or if it started raining. You could look into their eyes and see their emotions, you could hear their voices vibrate through the air and reach your eardrums, savoring every intonation.
And if that seems extravagant let me you this, you could take a vacation and go spend time in forests. That’s right forests. Anywhere really. You could go to jungles, oceans, mountains, beaches, caves and even the sky. There were no limits, our only limit was ourselves… and money of course, but still… Imagine that… It was great.
Now all we do is live our lives in these spheres. In these microworlds, isolated from the outside, isolated from the others. They say it’s for our protection, but you know? I’ve been thinking about that and I’m almost certain that’s not the case. They are protecting the world from us. I’m sure far away, beyond those dunes in the horizon there are places where the world thrives, where animals sing and run, where fish swim and birds soar through the skies breathing the freshest of airs. Oh how I wish I could breathe those winds. How I wish I could swim through those oceans… just like back in my day…
Ian sat down alone at the top of the hill behind his home. He liked to visit that spot when he wanted to calm down, when he was feeling sad or simply when he wanted to escape his worldly issues. He could feel the dirt below his hands, cool, dry. The fresh winds that came from the north entered his lungs filling them with a kind of magic. Each breath he took scattered oxygen through his blood, energizing his every cell, and in that place below the dark sky it made him feel alive.
He looked up at it, admiring the many thousands upon thousands of stars that shined at him. They waved hello in their own language, glowing with power from across the vastest of distances, reaching his eyes through what seemed like infinity. An occasional bird flew above him and he wondered, do they ever look up at stars at night? In their busy schedule of finding food for the their little ones, of protecting them from predators and surviving trough every day life, do they ever stop a moment? Maybe a fraction of a moment, a pause between feeding their young and repairing their nest, an accidental look at the sky, and do they in that instant of splendor know they are part of something so much bigger than them? Ian bet they did. Every animal on Earth on occasion looks up and in their primitive minds rejoice in great awe, but to Ian it was different. He knew that for every single star he could see, for every twinkling little dot in the heavens there were a million million more of them behind it, too far away for our simple eyes to detect.
I still remember when they asked me. “I can only imagine the possibilities”, I said. The future seemed bright, and for a while I thought I was right. The cure for old age was found. The cure for cancer was found. The cure for aids was found. They even found the cure for hangovers.
I lived to be a hundred but the future I lived in was not the one they promised. Wars broke out over our scarce resources, people killed for shelter, species went extinct, forests were burned down.
I lived to be two hundred, technology never stopped advancing. People were paid by the government to live in “mass v-housing”, that’s what they called them. We called them mass graves. People went in and were connected to a virtual reality where they lived out their lives, they were fed intravenously. They were essentially dead. At least to the world they were. Low resource, low cost.
I lived to be three hundred and now I’m on my way to Mars. I hear quality of life isn’t very good there. But it can’t be worse than it is here. Clouds of smog rain acid over our cities every day. There’s no such a thing as fresh air, there’s no such a thing as “animals” except for cows of course. Cows and pigs. Maybe they will inherit the Earth when we all finally die.
Here in this crowded space transport I look outside through the windows. There is space, endless space. I’m sorry for us humans. I don’t know how we fucked up so bad. There must be someone else out there who did it right. A race of people who knew how to take care of their worlds. A place where people not only survive through life but enjoy it. A world where people still sing and dance in the rain.
I can only imagine the possibilities.
I was short on money. I thought I needed things more than I need myself. There was rent to pay, fuel to buy for my space pod, places to visit out there in the universe. It always seemed like it was never enough. I had to see the binary star system on orion explode with my own eyes, I had to fly through the Lion nebula. I had to reach the unreachable. So I decided.. why not?
First I entered a contract for 10% of my living time in exchange for cash. The mind of the long dead pilot entered mine and I watched as he lived through my body. I got to know his wife and his kids, watching from the inside of my mind. It’s a strange feeling seeing someone else live out their life through their own eyes. And still I thought I didn’t have enough.
I dont know how I got here. My mind is now rented 95% of the time. It won’t be another ten years before I get it back, and only now do I realise it was not worth it.
I thought having more money would be the answer to the void I felt. But oh how wrong I was. I can see now, through the eyes of different people how I’ve been living my life in the wrong ways. Wanting to see things out there in the galaxy, wanting to find an answer deep beneath the ocean, wanting to fill this void with things.
These people in my mind never care for such things, instead they visit loved ones. Talk to them, play with them, connect with them.
Now all I have time for is to write on this diary for a few minutes every day, yearning the time when my mind will be mine once again; Now all I can do is watch as the years go by inside the prison that is my mind as another person lives their life and I’m forgotten in mine.
I regret it. I regret every single choice that has led to my current predicament, all the way back to when I was six years old and I told my mother to buy me a SpaceX B-77 scale model spaceship to play with. I should have asked for a stupid fire truck.
Here I sit before a gargantuan alien being demanding, in exchange for my life that I suck on his long phallus. It smells like acid, like putrefact lemon. It is slimy and yellow. It is everything that I don’t want it to be, starting with it being a god damned alien dick.
I tried to bargain. First I asked to do work. I’m a capable man, it seemed reasonable, clean a few gutters… hell clean all the gutters, but they had none of it.
Then I pleaded. Just the tip? I asked with the voice of a man who has lost all dignity. But they stood their ground. And in the last moments before I start the deed I recalled the article I thought would stay irrelevant until the day I died.
Here goes nothing.