The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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by Ron Cruger
The silent society
          Robert 127 had just finished his lunch of two veggie pills, a T-bone steak pill, an apple pie pill, all washed down with a large glass of strawberry flavored recycled ocean water. He pushed back his chair and pressed the recline button on the chair’s control panel. The chair gently unfolded to accommodate Robert 127’s body. Beneath him he felt the warm air filling the chair’s mattress. An air-filled pillow blossomed beneath his head. Robert 127 was ready for his government approved twenty minute lunch break still at his desk at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Behavior.
          Robert 127 stretched out comfortably on his back and reached for his miniature spray can of “Lunch Slumber.” One gentle spritz below his nose and in eight seconds he was sound asleep. He would waken in exactly twenty minutes refreshed and ready to complete his standard ten hour work day.
          At the exact twenty minute mark Robert 127 awakened feeling strong and refreshed. He pressed the resume button on his chair control and was immediately back at work.
          Working steadily until 6 p.m. Robert 127 turned off his Zonic Plus computer, turned off the power on his Converto Chair/Bed and turned off the neutron lamp on his desk. He powered up his Laminate Doogle Hand Computer/phone, pressed language and placed the shiny black device in his left hand, where it resided every minute of the day, except when he was at his desk at the Institute or taking his official sleep hours, eleven p.m. to 5:45 a.m.
          Robert 127 waved goodnight to fellow members of the Institute as he headed for the front door and his official government “Leisure Four Hours.”
           He headed for his after work spot, “Cheers to You” on Gramercy Place.
          Texting as he entered “Cheers to You,” Robert 127 sent a text message to all on his mail list of regular “Cheers to You” attendees. He texted, “Hi, good to C you again. Lets have a good time.”
          The nineteen government workers who made up the majority of the bar’s customers all looked at their personal computer/phones, mostly residing in their left hands, right hand if they were left-handed. After reading Robert 127’s text message the crowd stopped whatever they were doing and raised their computer/phones as their salute to the entrance of Robert 127. Nobody spoke.
          Robert 127 walked to the bar, waved to the attractive female bartender, raised his Doogle Hand Computer/phone and texted the bartender a message, “Hello, yur new here, arent you. I’ll hav a duble fratinizer, no ice.”
          The bartender reached for her hand computer/phone, a “Radion Zoomer,” and texted Robert 127, “Yes, my 1st day here. I’ll hav your fratinizer in a sec.” She pressed “send,” Robert 127 read his message and nodded to her.
          The nineteen patrons of the bar were sitting in the soft, artificial chamois chairs situation near the four walls of the establishment. Each was concentrating on the small computer screens of their hand held devices.
          From time to time laughter would break out as someone would text a joke to the other members of their group. No words were spoken.
          One gregarious fellow texted a joke to the three men and four women at the next table and the seven texted back to the sender, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha, that’s a good un. Yur so funny.”
          The bartender texted Robert 127, “Heres yur drink. Enjoy. Thatll be four credits.”
          Robert 127 texted back, “Thanks. Put it on my ‘Visabucks” account and put a one credit tip on it 4 yu.”
          After having his usual two fratinizers Robert 127 texted everyone in the bar, “Gotta go now. Gud seeing all of yu.” Remembering the standard loyal government farewell, he texted the proper farewell, “…and bless President Schwartz 493 and the High Command.”
          As he left through the front door of “Cheers to You,” Robert 127 waved his computer/phone at the crowd and, in turn, he saw everyone waving their computer/phones back at him in the current salute. As he walked down the street he checked his text messages and found five, “Gud seeing you, Rob. Bye.”
          As Robert 127 walked to the “CushionAire” automatic personal taxi stop he kept his eyes on the small screen of his computer/phone. There were two text messages. One from the head of his political party, the “Tea-Sirs-Moderists.” The other from his mother, “Florence 776.” He immediately texted both.
          Robert 127 entered the first in line “CushionAire” taxi and three minutes later found himself in front of his two hundred and sixty seven story condo/apartment building.
          Texting the young doorman, “Hello, Mr. Spicer 333, how r you?”
          Quickly texting back, Spicer 333, wrote, “Fine Robert 127, welcome home.”
          Taking the super-fast magnetronic elevator, Robert 127 was at the door of his condo/apartment on the two hundred and thirty seventh floor.
          Checking his computer/phone, he found seven text messages. Sitting down on his artificial cotton/flannel/camel hair covered air couch Robert 127 answered them all.
          After swallowing his dinner health pills and indulging himself with a glass of domestic “Budweiser Champagne/Beer” he turned on his hundred inch flat screen, 3-D television.
          A voice come on, “Good evening and welcome to ‘voice news,’ your news recap of the day.”
          It was then that Robert 127 realized that this was the first human voice he had heard all day.
          Real people don’t talk in person – they only text. People gave up actual “sound-talking” almost three hundred years ago.
          People only talk in the movies and on television, and even there subtitles were taking the place of “talkies.” Even stage plays were being performed mute. A screen above the stage produced written dialogue. No sound talking or singing
          “Sound talking,” had been replaced by texting.
          Years ago people found that texting was easier than “sound talking.” It was far less personal, less confrontational, less intimate. It was  hort and fast.
          After all, these days, in the year 2510, who wanted to be personal or intimate?
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