Friday, June 30, 2017

Comfortable in Her Own Skin...

Janet walked by the shop window looking over the latest models on display. Fashion changed so quickly it was hard to keep up. And honestly she really didn't want to be cutting edge. The colors were too bright for her, the angles too sharp, and the styles too extreme. She liked the classics. The things that she saw as a child and dreamed of being able to buy.

But she did need to refresh her look. She had noticed this morning that her favorite was getting a little threadbare. A little worn looking. Nothing changes classic to old quicker than a sagging seam. But she wasn't keen on this new look. The bright blue was especially popular right now. And what was the deal with the add on spikes? Shoulder caps with long silver spikes. Neck collars with deadly looking needles. How in the world were you supposed to interact with the world if you looked like a blue porcupine?

Of course, she didn't really know exactly what a porcupine looked like. She had seen pictures of them and once even an old nature documentary where a dog had gotten a face full of quills. She had never seen a real dog either, for that matter. But she did have an idea of what they were like as well. She had always thought having a dog would be a good thing. 

She took a deep breath and walked in to the showroom. She was going to have to get new things, no sense putting it off any longer. Maybe they would have something on the clearance rack that would suit her tastes more. 

"Welcome in, Ms. Vargas! What can we help you find today?" The Salesbot rolled over to her as soon as she walked in the door. Her personal information already being transmitted to its memory banks.

"I'm looking for a new suit. Do you have anything in this style?" Janet motioned over what she was currently wearing.

The Salesbot scanned Janet from head to toe. Janet swore if its head had been articulated enough it would have cocked it in a puzzled look. As it was it was just silent for a very long time as it accessed all of the data records.

"The suit you are wearing is from our 2045 line. We haven't had anything from that line in stock for quite a while I am afraid. Let me set you up in a fitting room and we can look for other styles that might fit your needs."

Janet sighed. She figured that would be the case. Oh well. She let herself be led to a fitting room and sat down on the padded bench in front of the view screen. 

"If you will please stand still with your arms out to the side so I can scan your dimensions, Ms. Vargas."

"Oh yes, I'm sorry. It's been awhile since I've had a fitting."

Janet stood and let herself be scanned. She hadn't changed sizes since her last fitting. It was why she had been able to keep this suit for as long as she had. She hated being a style chaser anyway. She really did like the classic look. And it was just so expensive. She didn't understand people who had a variety of sizes at their disposal. So much money for something that you could make last with just a little more discipline. 

After the scanning was complete she sat down to view the style mirror. Her body was projected on to the screen wearing the bright blue spike suit she had seen in the window.

"This is our latest design. It's very popular."

"No thank you. I really am looking for something more classic in style and color. Do you have anything in champagne?" Champagne sounded so much nicer than beige. 

Janet watched as version after version of herself modeling the latest styles and colors scrolled quickly past as the Salesbot looked for a more basic style. It stopped on a pink version with artful cutouts on the waist. "No. Not really my style, I really would like something more classic."

The images scrolled again stopping on a royal purple outfit with a collar that looked vaguely like a coronation cape. "Not that classic. Really I would like something like I have right now. Just not so worn out."

The Salesbot tried again, "Many people like the updated looks once they adjust. They wear very well. Stain resistant. State of the art blocking technology. The brighter colors do not show damage as much as the older lighter color styles did. We find that..."

"I would really like to stay away from the bright colors. I just don't prefer them. Can you please look again to see what is available?" The images started to stream faster. More colors. More attachments and cutouts and stylistic choices. All of it much too ornate for her tastes.

"Wait! Go back!" Janet saw one she liked, it had been a light brown suit. Perfectly fitted. Very smooth. The images slowed and reversed one by one. "There that one! How much is that one?"

The image crackled for a moment. She could almost hear the circuits in the Salesbot's processors humming as it tried to access the information. "I apologize, Ms. Vargas. That suit is not available."

"What do you mean not available? You have it on the screen. It has to be part of your inventory."

The screen changed to a pale purple suit with silver highlights on the shoulders. "This is more contemporary yet understated look."

"No. Go back to the other one."

"That suit is not available..."

"I heard you. Go back to that look."

The screen shifted and Janet was again looking at herself wearing a light brown suit. It was perfectly tailored. Not a seam to be seen. The detailing was different. Shading here and there. But it all looked like it was exactly right. Not overly ornate. But she wouldn't call it plain. "When was this a current design?" Janet was thinking she might find a tailor who could copy the design and get a privately made suit. Though she wasn't sure she would be able to afford one like this.

The Salesbot was silent.

"I asked you when this was in your stores. I won't ask again. Don't make me call programming to run a diagnostic on you."

The threat of having its circuits wiped worked, "This is an historical rendering of what your original suit would look like if it had not been damaged in the fallout."

"Wait? This is..." Janet looked at the picture again. "This is skin? Actual skin? My skin?"

"Yes. This is what the projections say you would look like before the fallout."

Janet stared at the version on herself on the screen. Then she carefully peeled off one glove and looked at her hands. The radiation sores never healed. She was more wound than skin. Had never considered what her actual body would have looked like. She had been born after the war, after all. She was second generation after war baby. The land was diseased. The animals were gone. But the robots remained and the people were making a comeback. The scientists who created Nu-Skin had saved them all. The original suits had only been available in dull gray. It had taken years for them to design other colors. Then the style mavens had taken over.

Janet ran her fingers over the picture screen wondering what that suit felt like. What it would have been like to have lived in that skin. She put her glove back on.

As the tears fell down her champagne colored cheeks she said, "I guess I will take the lavender suit."

No comments:

Post a Comment