I see the one I want, a domed glass cylinder with retro brass fittings. It's perfect. The salesman saunters over to me and rests a hand on it, nodding like he can tell what I'm thinking.
"It's a beauty," he says, "you have excellent taste." I'm afraid to ask how much it is. I'm just staring at the circular metal grille of the speaker. So classy. There are others, all arranged under the big banner that asks, "ARE YOU READY FOR THE DIGITAL TRANSITION?" in glowing letters. Most of the canisters are plastic, just grey tubes with a few ports. They're so ugly, but I know those are the kind my government coupon will get me.
There are some people that aren't converting; most are religious zealots or hillbillies, but I know there are some intelligent, educated people who simply don't mind being cut off from the flow of information. I wonder how it would be, if I would be able to even function. My parents have done okay living twenty years in the past, maybe I could too.
"So, chief, what kind of a budget are you on?" I hold up my coupon and he loses a lot of his enthusiasm. "Ah. Well, you know that government handout will get you something that works for the most part, but there's nothing that says you can't apply it towards something better." I should just grab the cheap one and get out of here, I already know that's what will happen. I ask him if he's getting one, and he develops a pretentious sneer that would probably take plastic surgery to remove.
"No, I transitioned two years ago, full conversion." If he were a better salesman he would have lied, talked about which one he wants and gotten me all excited about it, but he's too eager to brag about his positronic brain. Yeah, great, you can connect to everything without leaving your couch. You can carry on three conversations while navigating your ride and buying tickets to some crappy band that you're so cool for liking before everyone else. Good for you.
Meanwhile, I have to go with the times and pick out a jar to put my brain in so I'll be able to get my news and interface with the computers at work, and I can't even look cool doing it because my jar is going to be government-issue grey plastic canister. I walk away from the salesman without a word, and tap the phonebud in my ear - I guess that's one thing I won't be needing much longer. Stacey will know what to do.
"Hey Kyle, did you get yourself set up yet?"
"No... it's worse than I thought. The generics are awful. I might as well carry my brain around in a trash bag. I'm sorry, Stacey. I can't afford anything. I'll never be able to afford anything. You should just dump me now."
"Oh, cry a little more, you big baby. The generic is awesome, grab it and I'll bolt so much shit onto there that everyone will think you made it from scratch. There's nothing cooler than that. On your way home grab me a sheet of clear plastic, a live goldfish, and one of those hamster things, with the tunnels. You're going to have the most badass case-mod ever."
I grab a bland grey cylinder from the shelf and head to the front of the store with my coupon, and I can't help but notice I'm whistling.