Two days. It’s been two days since I last ate. Of course this isn’t the first time. Food has never been abundant and the winter was particularly harsh. But no matter how familiar, hunger never quite loses its miserable novelty. At least this is the worst of it. By the time I wake to uncontrollable shivering in the morning, my stomach will be dormant. And bitter numbness is a blessing when there remains so much ground still to cover.
It was a scavenging mission. This being a task even more useless than unwelcome. By this point most of civilization’s bones have been picked to a polish, and unwary vultures rarely grow old. Though someone clearly recalled a nondescript convenience store nestled deep in a rural subdivision. We’d never been there and it conceivably could have gone unnoticed in the early frantic maelstrom.
And what’s a 50 mile round-trip hike to a hungry guy in worn-out shoes? Besides I’m armed in case of disturbance: a .40 pistol with four rounds in the magazine. Ammo isn’t particularly plentiful either.
And so in the day’s final twilight I find myself bivouacked in one of the area’s vast stock of available housing. Peering through one of the few unbroken windows of my casa for the evening I notice one lonely sentinel in the driveway: a ripped-apart Saab? Volvo? with its bumper-sticker appeal still defiantly pristine. Vote Smart, Vote Democrat. Funny. Democrats and Republicans. I haven’t seen one of those since the day it happened. Ideology went out just a few minutes after the power did.
There’s a reason men don’t organize by politics in prison. And about 320 million of us learned why over the course of a few days. For a vast many, the lesson came with somber finality. But that’s history, and who the fuck cares now anyway? But before wrapping myself in whatever rugs and carpets the house will relinquish, I noticed an old article sitting in a dusty printer tray. May as well settle in with a good bed-time story.
Sounds wonderful. It won’t be me standing athwart the hi-tech sex goo shouting “stop!” I can assure you that. Maybe the spiders here will spare a cup.
For the travelling executive in need of intimacy or the long-distance couple seeking to let off steam, relief will be found in hi-tech goo. With a few judicious squirts of a bio-gel containing billions of nanobots and a wi-fi connection, mutual orgasm is reached via a layer of shape-shifting ectoplasm.
Of course, the partners at each end of the gel-based romp will only be with each other as the result of a DNA analysis which helpfully narrowed down their choice of a compatible mate to a dozen-strong shortlist. The lucky winner was then selected with the help of a holographic date and a virtual reality snog.
It might sound like the product of an over-excited Silicon Valley brainstorm, or the terrifyingly unerotic plot of the latest Hollywood dystopia, but this is how human love may well look by the middle of the century, according to organisers of a blue skies technology festival to take place in London later this year.
Ghislaine Boddington, curator of the “future of love” section of the FutureFest to be held in September, said: “The aim is to look at things that aren’t around the corner but up to 30 years away and broaden horizons.
“The way we first meet or interact with people may very well involve a date with a hologram or a virtual window into your boyfriend’s bedroom. And the way we give pleasure to each other will transform – if we can email each other why can’t we vibrate each other? There is a lot of talk of an internet of genitals – devices that link up our bodies from within.
Eventually sex toys may come in liquid rather than solid form with the development of gels containing microscopic robots which each partner would apply to their erogenous zones and use to stimulate one another as the nanobots respond to instructions sent over the internet. Ms Boddington said: “You could respond to each other through the gel – you would feel each other’s orgasm and enhance it. It’s a way off but there is some pioneering work being done out there.”
With virtual reality – the use of headsets to create a 3D virtual world – already in use by some in the porn industry, organisers think VR will become far more widespread, perhaps with the addition of stimulating bodysuits.
I suppose we’ll need to reignite the substations before aspiring to genital Internets. Maybe next month, alas. Though no doubt some sexy shape-shifting ectoplasm would be welcome succor for the frigid night ahead. But in its absence I’m left with only fitful sleep and an early morning. For I’ve got to get to the palisades before my former fellow Americans get to me.