Although the image of me as an 85-year old man standing on the front steps of a church after Sunday services handing chewing gum to children who adore me as a wise elder is as strong as ever, I still can’t believe I have lived into the second 50 years of my life.
Thirty-three or more years have passed since the last time I remember standing in the green room surrounded by beautiful women and handsome men changing costumes without worrying about modesty, waiting for their cue, their scene change, their chance to shine on the stage, under the spotlight, the scripts memorised, live.
So how do I explain to you, the faithful reader, that we are actually 200 years into the future?
Can time have passed so quickly that we’ve forgotten that we’ve built Moon bases and Martian colonies?
Mesmerising as the past can be, nostalgic even, we clean up the main meeting hall, the tourists returning to their guest quarters, making last-minute changes to their allotted space for clothing and souvenirs before their habitation modules will be trucked over to the launch site for their return trip to the Moon or Mars, depending on their travel agendas.
Tonight was exciting, wasn’t it?
All the performers, including some of the tourists who wanted the chance to say they danced in front of a live audience on the Martian surface, displayed their best talents.
Every one of them can recall a skipped step or miscue but the audience didn’t know and didn’t care — they were entertained and that’s all that matters to them, their last evening on the planet a memorable experience shared between scientists, tour guides and tourists alike, broadcast on the ISSA Net for all to see, reinterpret and create viral video neural implants.
Tomorrow, normality returns to the Red Planet as researchers go back to their laboratories, tourist modules are sent back to their home planet and new patterns of living are applied to the bot net monitoring and terraforming Mars.
A package lay in the corner of Lee’s room, a single acronym adorning the outside: OOBE.
Out-of-box experience or out-of-body experience?
Lee didn’t know.
It was addressed from both Guin and Bai, undated.
Lee’s years of meditation training had allowed him to exist outside of time.
He looked at the package from 100 years later.
It was the collective memories of Guin and Bai’s marriages, woven into a mass media blanket, the fibers containing electroneurochemical memory traces that intersected at perpendicular and diagonal angles, every crossing point a mixed memory that canceled out or magnified similarities, doing the same for precise differences.
Lee saw that he carried the blanket with him for decades, having shared and created some of the memories before the blanket was made.
After hundreds of years of life, time was meaningless to those with perpetually-rejuvenated circuitry, body parts replacing old ones causing joint pain memories to fade from disuse.
Perspective changed as lifetimes had no statistically-expected endings.
Lee saw the night of a dance showcase on Earth as if it had just happened a few hours ago.
He knew his dance partners wanted him to take control of the dance floor but he relished the small feeling of chaos, the hint of uncertainty that felt like having a random number generator built into every one of the changes to his set of states of energy, his partners unsure of his next move, no matter how many times they had practiced them and anticipated what he was supposed to do rather than what he wanted to do or might do just to mix things up.
He was consistent, inserting chaos in order to test theories in realtime, keeping separate the body in motion from the theoretical responses he calculated to regenerate the out-of-body experience he called life.
The OOBE — the soul, the Übermensch, the god within.
Living inside and outside the labels, letting our fear and misunderstanding of chaos melt away.
Embracing change because nothing is in our control despite the illusion of conditions at the local level.
For instance, move your finger. Now, think about all the aspects of the universe that existed and the changes that occurred in the moment your finger moved that effected you and your finger — statistically, you had no control of the universe’s influence upon your finger, let alone in or on the finger itself.
It is good to remind ourselves of our place in the universe, even on nights with the simple pleasure of social engagement with fellow dancers, their friends and family.
A new adventure awaits our Martian colonists, bred and designed to withstand the brutal cosmic radiation that bombards our inner solar system constantly, ironically protecting us against the random radiation outside our solar system.
Let us look forward to what we’ll read about the colonists next!