This is your cyberlife -- nothing in it works


YOU WAKE up late, wondering why the alarm didn't go off. After all, you 
programmed your alarm to dial up the Atomic Clock during the night and set 
your alarm within a nanosecond of the proper time. Isn't technology 
wonderful? Unfortunately, the connection crashed your alarm, and not only 
does it just keep blinking 12:00-12:00-12:00, but all the DJs on the radio 
stations are muttering nonsense syllables. You reboot the clock and head to 
the shower.

Ah, the water's hot, the water pressure is strong. You have a good connection
this morning. Lucky you. In the middle of lathering your head, however, the 
shower head goes dry, and the indicator reads: "BROKEN PIPE. TRY AGAIN LATER."

Well, it happens. You sit on the edge of the tub and turn the tap on and off 
until the water starts again. It comes out slow and cold. Of course! This is 
the time of day when everyone on the West Coast is hitting the showers. Slows
everything down.

You go to fetch the newspaper from the porch. It's thick today. But a couple 
of pictures are missing from the front page, with little question-mark icons 
where there should be a picture of a car wreck -- but hey, that happens. When 
you turn the page, it takes one minute for the words to appear. While you 
wait for the paper too become legible, turn on the TV and catch the news.
The TV has fancy plug-ins that enable it to display words, pictures and 
video -- imagine that! There's a RealAudio WebCast on flooding conditions 
in your neighborhood, so you pay particular attention. Unfortunately, too 
many people are trying to watch the same program, so the audio's a little 

" ... -lood -ater SKRCRR eaded toward SKRCHRR esidents advised to 
evacuatSKRCHRCHC efore certain deat SKROSSSH orrible loss of ... "

Hmm. Doesn't sound good. Maybe you'd better catch a cab for work before the 
disaster strikes. On the way outside, you remember that you have to mail a 
letter; it absolutely has to have today's postmark. Hmmm. The mailman is 
slumped on the ground unconscious. The mail slot is welded shut. A little 
sign says, "Mail is currently unavailable; try again in 15 minutes."

The cab ride is speedy, but the driver keeps telling you that 
your address is not valid. You keep repeating the address:, NOT cubicle.mychair. 
Eventually he gets it. Stupid driver. He tells you to go to 

After a productive morning working with pen and paper, it's time for lunch. 
Perhaps you should try America Out to Lunch -- a fabulous restaurant with 
food from every culture on earth, and AOL has an all-you-can-eat buffet for 
$19.95. Why not give it a try? After all, you've already paid for it. They 
sent you dozens of free menus until you signed up, and since they're charging 
your credit card, you might as well have a bite.

There are 300,000 inside the cafe, and thousands waiting to go in. After you 
bang on the door for 10 minutes, it creaks open. You give the maitre d' your 
password. WELCOME! he says. YOU'VE GOT MAIL! (You still have the letter in 
your hand; all the mailboxes are still welded shut.) You step up to the 

Just as you have loaded your plate with a delicious repast and are ready to 
download the food into your stomach, a bouncer appears, grabs you by the back 
of your jacket and hurls you outside. A handbill flutters beside you. "For 
some reason,'' it says, ``you have been thrown out of the restaurant. If this 
problem persists, please call Customer Relations, and listen to some nice 
on-hold music for 40 minutes." Yet there's a man on the corner handing out 
free menus to the restaurant. You're still hungry.

Later you read in the paper that the restaurant is adding tables as fast as 
they can, and as long as you don't intend to eat for the next few weeks, 
you'll be fine.

That night, you recount the day's frustrations, and wonder when enough things 
will work enough times to make the day feel easy and seamless. Well, that's 
the future, and the future's not available. That's what makes it the future. 
All you can do now is dream. You close your eyes, initialize your id and 
prepare to handshake with your subconscious.

Three hours later, you're still staring at the ceiling, waiting for dreams. 
The busy signal is starting to sound like a lullaby.