„We really need to do this, Aglan? On April 1st? I mean, I’m not superstitious, not at all, not pure advanced science me. But what kind of Operating System release plan is this? You just don’t schedule important activity for April 1st…”
Hearing herself sound so unacceptably, unwomanly plaintive, Iosan quickly adds:
“… The old fashioned, village kind of folksy people, they might look at the date, declare the announcement a joke and kick it into the delete bin. It’s just not responsible. This no longer supposed to be the century of plan-for-the-worst-case-and-go-one-up, or what?”
Better. Getting angry at that stupid slogan devised by even more stupid central infrastructure providers who get everything worth messing with most stupidly wrong won’t change the release plan. But getting angry feels right.
Aglan looks expectantly attentive, waiting for her to pursue her rant.
His posture could be considered appropriate. He’s being talked to by his spouse and listens, that’s good. But his lack of bother, that’s offensive. Not one drop of sweat on his high forehead. His hands folded behind his head, and not even a hint of a darker armpit area.
This turquoise shirt is tight, wasn’t designed for a guy who won the gym addict award at the lab. If Aglan was shedding body fluids, it would show. Unless he finally gave in and had his metabolism upgraded, like a normal person.
Aglan certainly wouldn’t tell her, after decades of vociferous opposition to the practice. No family gathering complete without him finding an excuse to preach to the heathens:
“Don’t get yourself implants. Don’t get started on metabolic upgrades. Millenia of evolution provided us with a pretty robust body that holds up nicely for a good fifty years. Back in the days of the ozone shield and the stable magnetic field, people even made it to one hundred years. Totally unenhanced, one hundred! Take that, BioSoft, and stuff your two-months-more-for-the-price-of-a-flat commercial where the solar panels don’t charge.”
That’s what Aglan sounds like, on modernity, and he keeps it up for over ten minutes easy.
Slavery Reparations Weekend or Natural Offspring Day, same gospel. Aglan doesn’t care if he’s seated next to granny Ogla, who is deaf, or vis-à-vis nephew Bahro, the biohack prodigy. On all other issues, even basketball teams and trams, Aglan is the quiet one with the balanced view he won’t utter unless asked. But implants and enhancements, no.
At the last count, ninety eight point seven percent of the global population where in favor and had acquired. But Iosan has to be one of the unlucky few and married a freak.
Aglan is still all smiles, displaying his serene armpits. That’s offensive. It has to stop:
“And what’s so funny about me arguing for a responsible handling of serious matters?! Next stop anarchy, is that what you’re arguing for nowadays? Let’s just mess things up, to see what happens, and damned-so-what if anything goes wrong? Is that your new attitude? Well, my dear Aglan, let me give you an update: I won’t have it. None of it!”
Hearing herself bellow like the next teen tamer, Iosan once again adjusts her aim. In a more level voice, she adds:
“Don’t get me wrong. There can of course be too much of a good regulation, I’ll grant you that. Not arguing for the zero-bin-zero-waste policy of the neighborhood council here, of course not. But there’s a difference, between buying packaged sweets, recyclably packaged sweets of course, and having to get rid of the wraps, on the one side, and a major software update, and major really means major here, on the other side. Gazillions of applications are affected, applications that are in turn needed for all kinds of vitally important tasks. That’s a special occasion, worth investing a little brain power.”
There, she said it. Iosan tries never to think ‘brain’. Not saying the word is an important part of avoiding the subject, but occasionally, she can’t help it. It’s as if the bloody organ was purposefully getting ahead of her, sneaking the term onto her tongue. She feels like falling apart, her heart dropping down into her bowels.
And Aglan, the jerk, to take advantage of her wobbly second to start blabbing in the most unhelpful way:
“Relax, darling, no need to panic. Remember, you’re the strong gender, designed to survive something as excruciating as giving birth. You will…”
Iosan can’t have that kind of climate killer excrement talk. She won’t have it. Pulling herself back together, she allows the flame or her anger to flare up all bright and mighty:
“Don’t you dare darling me, Aglan! Who do you think you are? Barely enough processing power in the upstairs to beat the next primate at chess, making the odd buck by the sheer luck and toothy grin that got you into research, what the hell would qualify you to provide me, a person of advanced intellect, with advice? Now let me tell you a couple of news, my dear Aglan. The world isn’t flat, pigs can’t fly, your so-called level of reasoning…”
Lady, that feels so good. Not exactly an ambiance booster. Some of the damage will need fixing later on. Iosan is aware of that downside, but later on isn’t now. Now is the time to take advantage of the initial offense to blast a list of grievances at this bloody nuisance of a useless spouse.
Aglan doesn’t take it like a man, not shedding even one tear. Iosan wonders if body fluid avarice should be added to the list of the offender’s faults. After a quick appraisal, she decides against. Most people have to spend a lot of money to become as dry bodied and eyed as her husband, blaming him for a natural advantage would sound stupid, which she most certainly isn’t. Not with her…
She did it again. Twice in a matter of minutes. Thought about her brain. Stopping in mid-accusation, Iosan storms out, upstairs and onto the balcony. It’s a dark, moonless night. With the street lights already in dim nature preservation mode, the stars crowd in on earth. A beautiful sight, even more breathtaking thanks to her enhanced vision.
It was a good idea. It was the thing to do. Not just because of the sights and sounds.
Iosan is calming down. Being out here on her own, at night, always does this to her. The warm breeze, the stars, the hum of the city, it all feels cosy.
Downstairs in the living room, the beeper signals an interaction request. Aglan answers at the second beep, despite the late hour. Most be someone important.
Iosan focuses her hearing to listen in. With her upgraded ears, she can make our every single word as if Aglan was standing next to her:
“Hi Citrala, long time no hear. Hope it’s no emergency? If it is, it will have to wait, Iosan can’t make herself available at the moment. No, no, nothing serious. Just a bit tense ahead of her first major operation system update, and rightly so. As you’ll sure recall me mentioning, on multiple occasions: Implants and enhancements, especially on the brain side, that’s a recipe for misery. They sell it as an improvement, and it might feel like one at times, but that’s certainly not worth going to bed wondering if you’re still you on the morning after…”
Iosan is torn.
Part of her wants to storm down and take the call, because Citrala that late, that’s bound to be serious. It’s early hours in Asia now, something might have gone wrong with their delivery to Shenzhen. That kind of glitch is beyond her partner’s Mandarin.
Another part of Iosan doesn’t care one bit about delayed bamboo and complex customs procedures. It urges to strangle Aglan.
Yet another part knows he’s right. There is a downside, to brain upgrades.