Dreamed 1997/1/31 by Chris Wayan
I'm at work, in the library. But it's the future. I find two items ordered from our library via the Internet, a new service of ours. The items are a pair of socks and an umbrella, probably left here during the last storm. I don't know how to send them out because neither of them has legible address-tags. Nancy at the checkout counter says "No problem, we can look 'em up online again and get the requesters' addresses. Too bad we can't email socks, but they have to go by snailmail."
A small chorus of librarians sings in the lobby. They sound very treble due to all the bare concrete and brick. Lively acoustics--too many overtones for my ears in fact. Ow.
I go upstairs, start on a new project: peeling off old posters pinned onto the concrete walls. The walls are bristly with old pins--straight non-safety pins stabbed into the cement! How'd they do it? Must have been when the wall was still wet... or there's a librarian around here with real muscles.
I'm preparing to put up fresh posters. How I'm going to stick the pins in, I don't know. No ladder either, so I improvise steps out of chairs and mattresses on rollers. The wheels tend to slide and I feel wobbly up here--not quite safe.
An acquaintance comes along and talks to me from below, teasing me a bit: "Pretty mindless work for such a geeeeenius." I say "It's soothing, and a change from my old job--filing catalog cards." My pesterer snickers "Not so different: solitary, so you won't meet any women. Nice and safe and dead-end." Ouch. True.
Several high officials of the university are walking down the stairs and overhear this. They butt in for a minute, arguing pro and con...
My teaser is a sort of taxi dispatcher who works off a moving train. I moonlight as a cab driver he dispatches. Well, not cabs really, it's something door-to-door. Wow, I can't remember just what it is I do...
He says "You're so intelligent, why do you do THIS job? If you had a brain in your head--"
I burst out laughing. "IF I HAD ONE? Do YOU?" I've never asked, but I know the odds are overwhelmingly against it. I'm one of the few people left with organic brains. All the rest rely on chip implants. So much faster! But I like the complexity and uncertainty of organics. Analog nets feel more creative to me.
And I was born in the far past--I was frozen and thawed out here in the future. I grew up having a brain, I like having a brain, and I'm gonna keep my brain.
Even if I don't use it the way a bunch of chipheads think I ought.
My strength is not measured by the conventional benchmarks of speed or cleverness. I'm not a data juggler. Let the chipheads sneer! I have a brain, a messy organic brain, capable of originality. And they threw theirs away.
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