It’s 8:00 in the morning here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have to be in Singapore by 10:00 for an important business meeting, so I’m in no real particular rush. I synch my Enhanced and Artificial Reality device to my shower and blast some classics as I bathe- oldies like Katie Perry and Bruno Mars. There’s some newer stuff in there, but lately they’ve gone back to that over-produced folk sound that was popular in the early 10’s. “Mike” is the name I gave my E.A.R. piece. No particular meaning or subtext behind that choice: I’ve just always liked that name, and it’s easy to say.
“Mike” I say.
It beeps its acknowledgement.
“Start the fryers and cook me up some sunny side ups.”
“Confirm: Sunny Side Up Eggs?” The smooth feminine voice calls back. It’s a bit anachronistic that “Mike” has a female voice, but eh-whatever.
“That’s right.” I say.
“Sausage with that?” S/he inquires.
“Mike make a note: I always prefer crisp bacon and light toast with my sunny side ups.” I command.
“Also start the coffee machine. Surprise me. Something dark but not too bitter.”
“Confirmed. Sunny Side Up Eggs, Crispy Bacon, Light Toast and Peruvian Blend Coffee?”
“Sounds delicious, I’ll take that waiter.”
My morning and after-workout showers are about the only time I don’t physically wear my EARpiece. As amazing as technology has gotten, it’ll still get water damage. But I read on Uppit yesterday that some Thai scientist is working to fix that. I switch over to the standards station as I finish up my shower and go through my grooming routine belting out Michael Buble. Nothing better to get the mind going in the morning than some slightly off-key singing.
My breakfast is ready and plated as I enter my kitchen and put on my EARpiece. Using my ocular navigation, I select the New York Times and begin reading about the latest free market acquisitions. SpaceX has announced plans to begin leuisure cruises to Mars. I have a ticket booked for the Lunar base for this years vacation. It’ll be a nice change to go to Mars in the coming years.
8:50 and I’m just finishing up my breakfast as I scroll through Uppit’s male lifestyle thread when I get an incoming call from my sister. She asks if I caught last nights Doctor Who, which is a stupid question. Of course I did, it’s the most popular show in the world. Though it’s gone down hill since this last Doctor. She’s completely CGI and even with todays rendering technology and Life Definition TV’s, it still feels inhuman- the last little crevace in the Uncanny Valley.
I brush my teeth as I begin to watch the latest episode of one of my other favorite shows- The Simpsons- and dress myself based on the stylist app in my EARpiece. By 9:00 I’m out the door. I remember as a boy my father told me how they used to use petrol as fuel for their vehicles and how they’d have to fill up every couple of days and how it would cost $3-4 for enough gas to get you 30 miles. Must’ve been terrible.
I hop in my Tesla Dian and hop on the interstate. I have an EARpiece app that quizzes me on science, math and history questions as I drive. A friend of mine posted on Instabook that this helps your mental acuity. I also have an app that displays traffic lights and conditions, a radar detector and a real time weather updated. Also an app that displays Mad Maxx-like cars in my real world display that I have to avoid, but that’s only a game I play in my downtime.
Spaceport One, as its colloquially known, is buzzing by the time I get there. Businessmen from all over New Mexico, Eastern Arizona and West Texas are here flying out to their various locations. I see one of my coworkers at the terminal. We’ll be meeting back in Cruces at 1:00 for lunch. It’s 9:20 when I get there. I’m early. The Shuttle won’t be boarding for another 15 minutes at least. I use this time to grab a Latte from the nearby Starbucks. The girl working the cash register is cute and amicable, but the android they have making and delivering the drinks is disagreeable. You see, Androids and Robots have hit the low point in the Uncanny Valley. They look and act a lot like humans, but not enough for me to be comfortable with them. I expect in another 5 or 10 years that problem will be solved, but I can’t go through drive through’s any more out of the sheer creep factor.
I sit an drink my latte as I pull up an OpEd piece on the recent history of our great metropolis. It tells me that thanks to visionary leadership and entrepreneurs in the late ‘10’s Las Cruces became a burgeoning Economic and Scientific Hub. Spaceport One, the first of it’s kind, brought an influx of businesses, artists and scientists with it. Everybody wanted quick access to the awe of passenger space travel. By the mid 20’s, Las Cruces was the cultural, economic and business epicenter of the entire American southwest, surpassing even Los Angeles. 4 of the top 10 Millionaires on the Forbes 100 got their start in the Las Cruces area. Actors have made their careers here and around New Mexico, musicians and writers find it the area a-musing. Though it is an interesting read, I think it looks at Spaceport one through Rose colored glasses. Spaceport London is easily superior, as are Spaceports Dallas, Madrid and Bangkok. But eh, it’s subjective. Also it puts to much emphasis on the grandeur of Las Cruces. Maybe it’s because I grew up here, but I’m kind of over this whole space-tourism thing. I use the shuttle to travel to business meetings at least 3 times a week. The novelty, at least to me and everyone I talk to, has already worn off. Already Sam Branson is feeling the pressure to move into Celestial Mining and Prospecting. Even that, too, will eventually get boring.
I board my flight at 9:35 and we’re in the air in minutes. The fifteen minute flight from Las Cruces Spaceport America to Spaceport Singapore goes by fast. I synch my EARpiece to the planes television system and finish watching The Simpsons. 48 years and that show is still hilarious, though I don’t like the new voice actor for Bart. At the same time I review my briefings and have a lovely chat with one of the gorgeous flight attendents through my RealTime chat.
It’s during my flight that I take a moment to peer out of my window port and watch the Earth fall away, watch the sky go from light to dark blue and finally to black. It’s a view I’ve seen a hundred times before and as such it’s lost it’s novelty. In a few months time I’ll be taking my third Lunar vacation, watching the Earth fade even more until it becomes a glowing blue orb high above the Lunar surface. If there’s one thing you should enjoy, it’s tablet reading by Earthlight on the Lunar surface. But what strikes me is something my father said when I was a boy. He said humanity should never lose the wonder of space. I didn’t know what he meant then, but I think I have an idea of it now.
My first space ride was when I was 10 years old and I can vaguely remember the wonder of feeling weightlessness for the first time. My grandmother had made me get all gussied up in my finest suit, which wasn’t that odd at the time. Everyone there was still filled with that sense of wonderment. We were in space! Us, normal human beings! Not astronauts, not scientists, not super wealthy business magnates. Just us, humanity, enjoying space en masse. Back then tickets were still outrageously expensive and my grandmother- the one who sponsored the trip- had to save for 3 years to buy the ticket. We had to take a regular airplane back to Las Cruces to save money.
I look round the cabin at my fellow passengers. There’s two teenage love birds in the seats cat-a-corner from mine. The boy is dressed in grey wool trousers and an Incumbent brand mesh shirt, while the girl is wearing jean shorts and wool sweater with a big brown stain on the front. All around me are people dressed in street clothes and nearly no one is looking out at the wonder of space. It’s become passé to them, almost boring. A necessary evil to get to where their going. A few old-fashioned people still get dressed up for their Lunar vacation flights, but they seem out of place, quaint and antiquated.
Humanity has lost the wonder of space. Now that we’ve been there and done that it isn’t special any more. History professors preach about Neil Armstrong landing on the Moon and it’s met with what can only be described as a blasé attitude from the class. It only knocks the breath out of me for a moment, as I become distracted by a flirtatious message sent through text by a Starbucks Barista I know back in Las Cruces. Nothing obscene, just suggestive. Enough to distract me from the fact that I am now flying in outer space. Science fiction has become science fact…and nobody cares anymore. Including me.
We land in Singapore at 9:45. Guess I’ll be a bit early for my meeting.