“I don’t like living in the 21st century,” uttered Alice as she gulped down a glass of cold water. The sun was stifling that day, and burning the back of her head so much that she could even feel it turn chili pepper red.
“Why?” said Paul as he continued to stare at his tablet, concentrated on how to best guide his hero-turtle along a leafy path, knocking frogs out of its way. “This is the best century in which to live! Well, except if in the next one we have flying vehicles and spaceships that would allow us to fly to the moon and other planets whenever we want! Yeah, that would be so cool!…Gotcha!”. Paul’s eyes never left the screen. It was as if his gaze was transfixed. And every now and then he would sway in motion together with the tablet, as if he and his hero-turtle were one and the same.
“Agh”, sighed Alice. She, on the other hand, was a romantic. She didn’t jump through hoops for all this technology available at our fingertips nowadays. Sure, it facilitates life and was definitely worth it. But our lives shouldn’t simply depend on them. They are supposed to serve us and not the other way around. Alice loved to observe the world around her, and she could not possibly understand why Paul was so mesmerized by a simple gadget, when on a lovely summer day like this birds were chirping away in the trees, flowers were blooming all across the garden, and the sea was lying right there, still and peaceful waiting for a splash. How could he just ignore it all? For a screen?
“I would like to have lived in the Renaissance. With those large, elegant gowns, swirling along with my every step. Those pretty hats and lace umbrellas. And all those gentlemen, discreetly courting me.” Alice made a twirl as she dreamt of how better everything would be.
“Pfff,” snarled Paul. Still not looking away from the screen.
“What? … Rather, what about Belle Époque or the Enlightenment? Aaaaahhh”, she let out a prolonged sigh, like a small bubble letting out its air, slowly and smoothly.
“You’re a dreamer. You do live in Wonderland after all!”
“So what? At least I realize the beauty of other times. You don’t even know about them!”
“Sure I do. I know about the time of dinosaurs. Or the prehistoric men. Or the time of the Crusades.”
“Why would you want to live in a war period? We have enough of that now as it is!”
“But it’s all about the action. And feeling important!”
“See, that’s what these stupid videogames do to you. You think everything is fun and games. Even when lives are at stake! …. I’ve had enough of you. I’m going for a swim, either way you won’t even know I’m not here.” Alice threw off her beach dress and ran towards the sea. She welcomed the soothing splash into the ocean, as she shook off the sun’s burning rays from her head and back.
She was already swimming 200 meters in, when Paul, eyes fixed on the tablet, said “do what you want. We’ll always disagree on time periods. Everyone thinks another time different to their own is always better. … Are you even listening to me?”
Partly inspired by Daily Prompt: 21st Century Citizen – Do you belong in this day and age? Do you feel comfortable being a citizen of the 21st-century? If you do, explain why — and if you don’t, when in human history would you rather be?
Also part of: Daily Prompt: Fly on the Wall – If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?
Also part of Daily Prompt: One-Way Street – Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?