Down on the Street

a moment from San Francisco, circa 2049

She reached into her pocket and fished out her phone.

It was size of a credit card. The leather skin was warm in her hand. A small cutout in the leather revealed a monochrome display. On it a piece of abstract art moved slowly, overlayed with her next calendar appointment and the time. A series of icons -- jewels lifted from the Zelda games -- were stacked along the right side of the display.

She swiped her thumb left. The art and time disappeared, pushed away by a status board.

Album art for the song playing through her headphones appeared in a tile. There were other tiles for a messaging list view; her step and cycling counts and the amount of time she'd booked in zone two thus far that week; a Teams icon and an unread integer. And a picture of her boyfriend.

She tapped on the messaging list and unfolded the display with the same thumb.

The interior display showed her unified inbox. Across the top were icons for her cycling group, her roommates, her family, and another from the band where she played drums. She tapped the first entry in the list. The display rendered the message from her mom in a beautiful serif typeface:

Good luck with your interview. They're more excited to talk to you than you realize. I'm making your favorite dinner tonight 馃挏

She smiled as she swiped up to respond. The words shrunk upwards and faded as a small toolbar appeared -- she selected the keyboard and dragged her thumb across the keys, composing her reply. She tapped send and her list of unread messages reappeared. Then she tapped the band icon along the top of the inbox.

The first entry was from her guitarist. It showed a quoted public cast from the artist they had commissioned to produce some visual work their upcoming release. It was morning there and the cast showed of the sun rising over the ocean:

going out for a surf with the latest from @turquoise.bird in my ears. feeling inspired to deliver for them. can't wait for everyone to hear this

She tapped the reply icon and entered a quick response. Then she tapped the quote icon to share the artist's message. She mentioned the SF and Music channels, along with the venue where the band was scheduled to premiere their work next week. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of someone across the street waving their hands in front of their face. Another glasshole.

She was still surprised whenever she saw someone wearing Apple glasses. She used them herself at work, but the idea of wanting to wear them all the time was bizarre to her. Why someone felt the need to constantly have software in their field of vision was beyond her. Only her parents and their friends seemed to think it was normal. Of course, they all still lived their lives in Apple's bubble garden.

The thought of having to suffer the iMessage experience in order to stay in touch with them was brutal to her. Thank goodness she'd got her parents to use Farcaster. She was able to use Daylight devices exclusively because of it. She clapped her phone shut and slid it back into the pocket of her coat.

She reached into her bag and she pulled out her computer. The white Dyneema fabric covering the machine was well worn. There were patches sewn into place, with autographs from her classmates in permanent marker in between. She opened the keyboard case and flipped out the kickstand.

Her home screen appeared. Photos from her last trip to Japan rotated in the left corner of the display. Underneath the image of huge cedar trees, she tapped the album art and then tapped the bookmark icon underneath the song title. From the dock along the right edge of the display she tapped the golden Omnivore jewel.

The reading assignments from her professors filled the display, along with an empty notes file along the left side of the window. She pulled the stylus from out of its pouch on the machine's fabric case and snapped it into the charging position on the top of the device. She took a sip of her tea.

From the bay window in Leah Culver's converted Victorian home, she could see kids skating the park's retaining wall, and what looked like a birthday picnic further up the hillside. Her drummer had been an early backer when Culver put out the call to turn the building into a historic landmark and cafe. When her drummer was out of town they always staked her with their token so she could study there. In another year she would have accrued enough visits to get airdropped one herself.

She picked up the stylus and started studying. As the synthetic voice over read to her, she waved and tapped the stylus in the air. Omnivore kept up -- highlighting passages and transcribing her voice notes as she went. After a while, the pink jewel in the lower right corner of the display began to rotate and glisten. Her interviewer would be arriving soon. She had just enough time to do some drawing.

She picked up the machine, quickly folding the keyboard behind the display and adjusting the kickstand angle. The album art in the corner shifted as she tapped the jewel.

The most recent additions to her mood board flowed out across the top of the display. She put the stylus down and began drawing a basic pantsuit over the dress form template. It was important to her that the outfit she was putting together for the band's premiere reflect her recent influences as much as her own style. She was going for a Bryan Ferry meets 80s skater vibe, and the mood prompt engine had got her most of the way there.

She zoomed in on the wide lapel of the jacket. From the mood board she dragged a piece she had collected last season from @tomato.eth and dropped it into place. The flower stem bowed under an imaginary breeze as the rotating petals danced. The shifting color gradients in the petals stood off the deep blue of the jacket perfectly. The enhanced view of her was ready for showtime.

Tapping the layer toggle she checked the IRL view. A circular button with tomato's pfp sat on the lapel, pinned to the linen texture of the jacket. She'd prefer it be cast in copper but given the time constraint the best she could get would be charred bamboo.

She tapped the mint icon on the toolbar and a compose window appeared over the drawing. "So happy to know you and to have found your work. Thank you again for getting this token produced -- I can't wait to see you backstage next week!"

Her appointment jewel spun and glittered in the dock. Her interviewer was nearly across the panhandle from Golden Gate Park. She tapped the send icon and the compose window folded in on itself, shrinking into the Farcaster symbol at the top of the display. She tapped on it and selected an away message from the dropdown menu.

From the dock she opened her calendar and tapped the interview appointment. The note for their conversation filled the display. She whispered 'do not disturb' into the stylus and watched as all the ui elements faded from the display. The notes she had dictated to her phone over the last week, along with the casts she had bookmarked from her bandmates and supporters filed down the display and formed a stack. She clicked the cap on the stylus and the reference material shrunk, leaving only a graph and prompt cloud in the corner of the display. As the interviewer approached, a red light illuminated where the stylus had been charging earlier just as he called out her name.

"Sydney! So nice to finally meet you..." The words scrolled out across the bottom of the display, crawling along with his gravelly voice as he extended his hand.



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