Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
I looked into the eyes of my husband. At least, I was pretty sure it was my husband. Ever since The Crash, I haven’t been able to tell.
Our implants and knowledge banks were all erased on that one day. Theories were still being talked about.
Some think a solar wind or some sort of EMP just randomly wiping through space was the culprit. Some think enemy action was responsible and they were scared. Myself, I didn’t really know. If it was enemy action, we were easy pickings and if there were invaders, they hadn’t started invading yet. My bet was on some naturally occurring galactic disruption pulse sweeping through our solar system, a pulse that would’ve been much less dangerous to a pre-net world.
But here on Earth it was a catastrophe. Everyone’s headbox had been erased.
All the ‘soft in my brain has gone blank. It was two pounds of tech in my skull just taking up space, just the same as everyone else now. It had my phone book, my addresses, my schedules, my tutorials, my contacts and e-profiles, and perhaps most importantly, my facial recognition programs.
Including all of my important memories. The ones I wanted to remember most of all. The best ones. All gone. I have only vague, foggy, mists in my head now when I try to glance the past.
Pre-Crash, whenever I met someone, a sparrow-cloud of data spooled across my vision to let me know who they were and what their connection was with me. Everything about them flew up against the windscreen of my eyes and let me know all the relevant details. Previous conversations, secrets we had, times we shared in the past, references to in-jokes, ongoing issues, financial records, and a thousand other points of interest jigging around real time, undulating and updating as we spoke.
As a race, we were the best conversationalists we’d ever been.
More importantly, the elderly and mentally infirm now no longer had to pause to remember forgotten pasts or struggle awkwardly in social situations. Grandmothers could recognize their granddaughters. It was a golden age. It was a time of miracles.
My regular ability to recognize people had atrophied, however. It had for all of us. I know that now.
Ever since The Crash, I couldn’t tell strangers from close friends. I looked at people’s faces and I felt nothing. I knew nothing. I couldn’t tell if I recognized them. Some looked more familiar than others but I had no reference point.
If I did feel like I knew them, I didn’t know from where or what we used to joke about or discuss on a regular basis.
I still knew how to do my job. I was lucky that way. Every day, I see my co-workers and I wonder if we all used to have good times together. I know my name. I barely know how to drive even though I don’t know how to get anywhere without the map implants. I’m lucky I lived close to where I work. But I don’t know my birthday. I don’t know anyone’s birthdays.
On the streets and in the bars, we all stare at each other awkwardly. The few who try to talk to each other usually regret it.
The man in front of me looks really familiar. We have matching rings on our fingers and we both have keys to the same house and that’s pretty much all we’re going by. I’m going to try to kiss him but I’ve forgotten how.