The Discarded Lottery Ticket
"You're under attack, xm drained 1%, resonator destroyed. Good work"
The graphical representation of a resonator on my smartphone screen turned white and then disappeared. I tapped on the 'fire' button and a circle rippled across the stylized map of the aging New England city I was in.
My glasses made a strange beeping sound and I paused to look up at the ethereal image of a twenty-five inch television floating eight feet above my head to the right. I am a Google Glass explorer and I was receiving notifications of the latest news from CNN and the New York Times. There were stories about the fighting in Syria and Egypt and the radiation leak in the crippled nuclear reactor in Fukyshima Japan.
I returned my attention to Ingress, the augmented reality game on my smartphone. I had a little bit of time I could walk around the city green before heading off to my first meeting of the day.
"The world around you is not what it seems."
In Ingress, resonators are connected to portals. You can only see them in the game. Portals are often at statues or monuments. The game has gotten me out walking more and visiting places I wouldn't normally go.
I walked passed a decrepit lingerie display, a thrift shop full of old shoes and dresses, and a store front with artifacts from a bygone era of reporting. There were For Lease signs on old banks and the Symphony Orchestra had taken up residence in a different closed lingerie store.
One of the few open businesses was a donut store with it's easily recognizable national branding. An obese woman wobbled out eating her daily dose of diabetes. She wasn't running anywhere.
"… to wound the autumnal city" the opening line of a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel comes to mind. It is eight in the morning, and I would expect to see business people heading off to work, but all that I see are the discarded people, down on their luck; the veteran who never did get the PTSD treatment he needed, the immigrant whose hopes of a better world in America never materialized, and the cop trying to keep things from getting too ugly.
There is a decayed movie posted proclaiming "The Empire Strikes Back" and a residential care building next to a large crumbling edifice with a Latin phase about God and Heaven.
I take one more lap around the city green, "Field established, excellent work," sounds from the synthesized voice in Ingress. It is almost time for me to head to my meeting. I take a few notes with Google Glass and bring up the directions.
Between the wearable computing, the augmented reality game, the news of fighting and nuclear radiation leaks, it is hard to distinguish between the autumnal New England city and Dhalgren's Bellona. The closest thing I could find to hope was the discarded lottery ticket on the ground.