Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Extension, Part 5

I got the confirmation of my time worked the next day. I was fairly sure I wouldn't be called in for at least a few more days, maybe even the rest of the week. My morning was languid and aimless, as I like them to be... I poked through a few books, then finally, around noon, I went to the athletic hub and jogged a few laps.

As I took the HighWalk home, finally fully activated for the day, I thought about my father's stories. He had lived through the final wave of automation and public restructuring... when he was young, you were still expected to work every day, sometimes three or four full hours. Dad found it a nagging obligation to exercise in his free time, and he said he wouldn't have done it if he thought he could stay healthy without making it a habit.

This was one of the many ways our generation gap showed... by the time I'd finished my tracking cycle, the manual labor work week was compressed to only a few hours a week. I had no idea what it was like to have my time usage dictated by an employer; my peers and I had so much free time that were able – indeed, we were forced – to really put some effort into creating a productive structure for ourselves. Balanced, holistic fitness routines flourished as we found three- or four-day-long pockets of spare time to distribute.

Varn, my late father in law, said it was becoming a world of gym rats, which is a sentiment I've never fully understood.

I still missed Varn. He was a nostalgic, romantic old professional-class patriarch, with a house full of small, interesting objects that he'd secured on long-term exclusive licenses. He liked collecting, which is harder than it used to be, with all the strict license-enforcement lately. He mostly got them transferred at refuse markets and deprecation sales. When the old man died, I tried to keep a hold on his stuff... I applied to put posterity locks on thirty-five of his licenses, all the collected curiosities he had accumulated, which was totally excessive. Nobody wanted that many useless licenses lying around.

Maybe I'd go back and read some of Varn's old notes later. He'd become quite a productive memoirist in his last few years.

I got home to find the house very quiet; Marge was sitting in bed, reading on her Tablet, which she was accustomed to doing after lunch. I retrieved my Tablet from the bedside table and sat down on the bed to go through it.

General Interest News Items: 14. High-priority news items: 0.

Dependent status: Janie is out with friends. Last update: Arnold's creperie, 17th Street.

Message from Janie, recorded 9:28 AM: Be back by 4, daddy. I'll have my homework done before dinner.

Dependent notification: Janie has a new appointment today. 6 PM – Trend Michaelson. Location: Your house.

I glanced toward Marge. “Hey, hun, Janie's meeting somebody today... a Mr. Michaelson? Do you know who that is?”

(The RSS for this serial fiction can be found here.)

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