I wake up from a dream… or a comma. I am in a hospital bed. The room feels cold. There is a big window on my right. Sunlight is shinning and giving the room a peaceful atmosphere.
I noticed that the nurses and doctors around me look different… they don’t seem normal. I try to adjust my vision. Oh…wait! they are not even humans! They are actually machines. They look like humans. They move and walk like humans. I am scared! But at the same time I am curious. Another figure comes to the room. This one looks more real… more human.
“Hello… my name is Dr. Smith” she smiles. “How are you feeling?”
I stare at her… studying her face.
“Don’t worry, you are safe here.. ” the doctor assures. She looks young, maybe in her thirties. Long brown hair, and brown skin.
“Where am I..?” I ask puzzled, looking around at the standing machines that resemble humans.
“You are at the hospital…” answers the friendly doctor. “You suffered a car accident and went into a comma. ”
“For how long… I ask, not sure if I want to know the answer.
“Ten years…” answers the doctor with a more serious expression.
“You are kidding me… right?” I am petrified.
“We have been monitoring you all these years… and you finally came through.” answers the doctor. “We are excited that you recovered consciousness.!”
I look around again at the other standing figures. They look metallic, with wires coming in and out of their bodies. One of them has a flat screen, like a computer screen, for a head.
“These are our MAMMs... they are harmless…:” explains the doctor.
“MAMMs..?’ I ask.
“Medical Assistant and Monitoring Machines … they help us with vital signs, transporting, and companionship,” the doctor continues to explain. “They are our latest technological advances in the medical field.
I notice that the doctor is wearing a strange looking headphone. He suddenly pulls a thin set of goggles from behind her head to her nose to see through them.
“Your blood pressure and sugar level look fine for now. We will continue to monitor them. You are feeling cold, though, so I will have the MAMMs adjust the room temperature. You also seem to be hungry, is that correct.?”
How did she know? I ask myself. The doctor then leaves the room and leaves me alone in my bed with these strange looking machines. They beep and have lights that flashes. One of them speaks.
“We will give you food in approximately ten minutes…” it sounded human. It was actually a nurse that appeared on the screen of one of the standing machines.
After the meal, I am escorted by one of the machines to the hospital patio on a power chair. The chair also seems to have its own “personality.” It has a small screen on one of the sides that continuously checks my pulse. I finally breath fresh air. It is a bright, crisp morning.
I look around and see both real people and MAMMs walking around. Some of the people are eating lunch at tables. Others are simply siting down. But they all are wearing the same kind of goggles that the doctor was wearing. They don’t seem to notice my presence. I don’t recognize any of them. Some of them are talking, but they don’t seem to be talking to anyone. They seem to be clueless of what is happening around them.
I finally leave the hospital premises and try to catch a taxi driver. There are none in sight. So I start walking. I don’t recall any of my family members. So I don’t have a place to go. There are people everywhere. And they are all wearing the same goggles. There are some machines walking around as well. Nobody talks or communicate to each other. It is hard to even distinguish between the humans and the walking machines. I decide to approach and ask one of the standing pedestrians about my location.
“Excuse me…!” the lady is startled. She looks at me as if she is seeing a ghost. Then she looks away and continues to ignore me. Her goggles are a metallic purplish color.
“Excuse me… may I ask you a question. Where is the nearest hotel?” I insist.
The lady looks at me puzzled. “Are you talking to me..?” she asks. She seems to be in her late forties, African American, professionally dressed. Her makeup is bright and excessive. She also seems to be uncomfortable with my presence.
“Well yes I am… can you tell me where is the nearest hotel.?” I ask again, keeping my distance.
“Hold on!” she says with an attitude. She takes a real close look at me in amazement. Then she looks away as if looking into space. She puts her right hand to the side of her head, as if pressing her ear, and utters, “Nearest hotels…” A few seconds pass, and then she looks back at me and says, “There are three hotels off of 3rd avenue down the road, about a couple of blocks away. There are like five more on 5th avenue and two on Main street.” she points with her right index finger as she speaks.
“Thanks..” I respond. “How did you figure it out so quick?” I ask her.
“Well… my ‘Igles’, of course!,” answers the lady. She pronounced it, “eye-gls.”
“Igles?…What is that?” I ask.
The lady laughs hysterically . “Where have you been, young man?” asks the lady in a condescending tone of voice. “Have you been living in a cave or something ?” she asks cynically.
“I have been in a comma, ma’am..” I say.
She laughs again. She does not believe me. The lady then repeats again, “These are ‘Igles’. Intelligent Goggles. Get it?” she continues her condescending tone of voice. “Any other questions..?” she asks.
“No …. thank you.”
She then walks away. I notice she puts her right hand on her ear, and starts talking again, but there is no one around her. She begins a conversation… with nobody. “You won’t believe who I just happen to meet on the street….!” I could hear her saying as she continues to walk away.
I look around me. Everyone is doing the same thing. Adults and children. Even people driving in their cars are wearing the same goggles. Did these goggles replace the cell phones? I look up at some of the billboards that seem to be floating in the air next to the skyscrapers. One of the billboards is advertising the next generation of communication technology: “I-lenses”. Does that stand for “Intelligent lenses”? They seem to be contact lenses that people can wear inside their eyes which can also be used to communicate with each other and browse the internet. There are other billboards announcing computer chips that can be inserted in people’s heads to change their visions and hearing.
I ask myself: “What have we become…?” I am petrified. I am lost. People around me are browsing the internet, communicating to other people, using their goggles. And there are advertising about moving this technology further to the point of interfering with our natural five senses! Nobody recognizes what is happening in front of them or around them. They all seem to be living in their own world…..
Does this story seem unreal to you? Just look around you.