After school is always fun for my friends and I. We normally walk to the center of town, to the shopping district and hang out. Earthers probably roll their eyes at the provisionalism of hanging out in the shopping district, but it is what we often do.
The shopping district is not really much. In a world where everthing durable can be made at home and food is harvested largely by bots, the only shops around are those that stock what people cannot get from their printers and bots. This normally means handcrafted items or things found out in the wild or places for social interaction.
There is a bar, its as much a restaurant than a bar. We only have three restaurants. One that is the bar, but families are allowed until 9 at night. It serves all sorts of different foods, but they are sometimes called pub food. However, based on reading about what they call pub food on Earth, I don't think they know what those words mean. There are no sausages. There are no mashed potato or meat pies or anything like that. They sell my dad's green chile, but breaded and fried. They sell some of the local animal life and the best steaks in town (haha bite me, Earther). Their burgers are pretty good, but make sure you know if you are ordering JeffLife or EarthLife burgers. They taste really different! good! But different!
The other two restaurants are a breakfast and coffee place where people get together to drink coffee and grab breakfast. The food is not prepackaged and even often hand made, there's a bot menu and a chef menu. The latter costs more, but both are totally customizable. Their omelets are to die for. The last restaurant is what we call a native fusion. It specializes in native life. Its tougher than it sounds since so much of JeffLife is inedible or even outright poisonous. The woner is an immigrant with Japanese ancestry. He was a biochemist and a trained sushi chef. Something about a puffer fish and fugu? Anyways, he applied those techniques and knowledge to JeffLife cooking. The food is really good. And no, its not sushi, mostly.
The three restaurants are called Bar None, Breaking Dawn and Wāmu o tabemasu (translating as Eat the Worm).
Wamu gets most of its food from hunters and gatherers. No one has yet domesticated JeffLife. AND THEIR JEFFLIFE PIZZA IS TO DIE FOR! What does Japanese cooking have to do with American pizza? GO TASTE! Its AMAZING.
No, cooked JeffLife does NOT taste like doughnuts. The plants smell like it.
The art stores are the most interesting for me though. The art gallery is really good and my Mom has pieces in there. It is a a magical place for me. Mom takes me when she has a show and I want to get some of my work to hang in there. I don't do painting as much as I do photography, both static and virtual reality.
I'm actually pretty good. Virtual Reality painting is not like normal painting though. You are immersing a person in a virtual world where nothing is real, but it feeds into all your senses. Smell, sight, hearing, etc. The experiencer is supposed to feel something from the experience. its not supposed to be a scene, like in an Immie or a movie. Its supposed to be something abstract. AND! It comes over the booster into your brain, so displaying the virtual work requires a physical one. A painting or picture. Since I am good at painting, I do a painting and then embed the little computer in it with some painted on solar cells to power it and then the spray on antenna. That way a person has some idea what they are going to connect to and what they will experience. Its like a book cover!
I've not had my creations put in an art gallery yet but I hope to soon.
Oh! yes! My friends and hanging out!
We go to the art gallery and talk or go to Breaking Dawn. At BD we talk and eat and laugh. We discuss the day or gossip about friends or make jokes or dream up our next wild adventure. Well, what we /thought/ were wild adventures. BD has a rule though: everyone there has to talk, not use their booster. Everyone has to really talk. Everyone actually likes it. The big roaring fire during the winter or at night. The stone floors and rough hewn JeffLife furniture: properly prepared!
We normally leave there after an hour and go home. When I'm in town, I stay at Mom's house. And that's one of my most favorite places in the whole world.
But let me finish about downtown Shadwell.
We walked through town and saw the other stores and shops. This is what small town America was supposed to be like, I think, during the 1950s and maybe the 1920s. But the people are really different. And we have lots of robots. And we have computers all over. And there are flying cars. And, ok, so we're not that much like the 1920s or 1950s.
There are not a lot of shops, but that's just because we live in a world after the robots made everything cheap. People are owners and managers. People take care of being people instead of being machines. We enjoy life, but still have purpose.
We live, we love and we learn. We still work, but imagine a world where everyone can focus on the things they are passionate about and still live and live well. That's the world we live in. We do not fear the machines, we have embraced the machines. But they cannot replace us. Just make life better and happier because no one wants for things.
I'm getting off topic again. Sorry! I get so excited about the world. Mom says I ought to become President some day. I'd have to leave Jefferson then. And America on Earth is going to be an alien world.
Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!
There is also an art gallery that is strictly physical. The Hemmings' View refuses to have anything that uses boosters. That's compared to the first one I told you about, Shadwell Shack.
There is a grocery store, but it often seems more like a warehouse with bots zipping in and out. They have a small front where you can walk in and shop. Its for being social as much as shopping. People like to be social, but also have a million things to do.
The butcher is a really nice gal. Tomas runs a clean shop, but it still has this odd odor that almost smells milky. He only does earth life and if you want an aged steak, it will cost you, but it is sooooo worth it. Yes, yes, I might be a little biased since some of the cattle are Dad's.
There's also a clock shop! I love to visit. Mr Ali is really nice and we talk over the intricacies of the hand made mechanical clocks. He has a competition each year for the town to design a new Rube Golberg (oh, c'mon, look it up, lazy bones!) clock. We all have fun entering. I have a deeper love of all the little parts though and I don't think i could be a watch maker. I always stop by though.
Hey! Don't make fun of me! Mr Ali's son IS cute. But he's two years older...oh well.
I do like the clocks! JERK!
The last stop normally before I get to Mom's house is nursery. I love the smells of a huge swathe of EarthLife. There's something magical about it. Something wonderful about plants NOT smelling like doughnuts. It smells delicious in ways I cannot describe. And like home. A home I have never known.
But, perhaps, someday. Or so I thought. Adventures make for strange fates.
So! I'm home. Mom's house.