Storage lockers should be illegal.
I just had to help my mom clear one out that held no less than seven decades of stuff. Boxes of old slippers. Crates of Andean pan-flute LPs from the 50’s. An entire filing cabinet drawer of geology yearbooks from 1948 onward. (I was initially excited when I saw these, thinking that they would contain pictures of rocks in their awkward, teenage years, with categories like “Most likely to go metamorphic” or “Igneous athlete of the year.” No such luck.)
There were a few treasures in there, though. My grandfather’s machete, for instance, which has hacked its way through innumerable foreign countries. (I think that he once slew a dragon with it, too, though that story rarely gets told anymore.) There was a 50-year-old catalog of scroll-saw patterns as well. Apparently, scroll-sawing elk into things was a big pass-time a half-century ago.
Of course, any time that I go help move several cubic meters of my family’s discarded stuff around, some of it inevitably gets tossed at me in the hopes that it will stick and be carried back to my already cluttered house. I turned down the scroll-saw patterns and a collection of highly racist poetry in favour of an axe file, a set of jeweler’s loupes, and a 1951 copy of a magazine called “Quick.”
“Why this magazine?” you ask.
Because my mother noticed on its cover the words: “How you’ll live in the year 2000.”
“History of the future” indeed! Notice how this looks exactly like NASA’s current moon colony.
Admittedly, this is what my classroom usually looked like. I pumped Nitrous Oxide into the room until the kids all passed out, and then I read them Ayn Rand until the bell.
I do have to say, though, it is good to see that even in the distant future, women are still doing clerical work, even if their typing skills have become redundant.
“Emily, you have found things from a long age ago.” Her voice was a little rough, as any old woman’s should be, but Emily thought that there was still strength in it, more than her looks would have suggested. “These things you’ve been finding, these plants, have not been a part of the District for some two hundred years. The story of why is too long to tell now, and I don’t know all the details to tell it properly, I think. No, it is more important to understand why they are back, and why they are using you as they are.”
“I’m just trying to keep them safe,” Emily said quietly, cradling her teacup. “I think that they need me right now.”
Sofia studied her. Emily had the feeling that she was being looked at inside and out. “Yes,” she said. “You are probably right about that. They do need you. But you don’t know much about what they are or how to keep them, do you?”
Looking down at her lap, Emily shook her head.