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January 29th, 2017

I was rushing back to the office for a 12:30 meeting when I did a full face-plant trip into the sidewalk. Me. A grown man wearing a Tom Ford suit and Stefano Beyer shoes. I instinctively look around to see if anybody noticed. I know that rationally nobody really cares, but it still hits the ego somehow. I get up and check for damage. Looks like today is the last day for this $2,000 pair of pants. I turn back to see what I tripped on. It looks like somebody dropped their iPad. I pick it up. Maybe there'll be a reward for returning it.

There's something different about this tablet though. It's the normal shape and size you would expect, but only half the front has a screen. The bottom half has one large button. Maybe it's for kids? I push the button to see if there's any contact information. The display shows images of people walking and sitting instead of a swipe screen.

A woman wearing a blue pantsuit bumps into me as she's walking by. I don't think she even noticed me. I look back at the screen and notice that one of the people being displayed is the woman wearing the blue pantsuit. I look around and find that I see that most of the people on the screen are around me. Then it hits me, they are really all around me. Like in front of me, behind me, to the left and right. This isn't some sort of camera. It's somehow picking up all the people in the area and showing their picture.

I push on the image of the woman in the blue pantsuit and a window pops up with text scrolling through: ...I'm in such a hurry. I should have said something to that man I just bumped into, but I waited too long. It'd be awkward. Now he's going to think I'm mean. Oh well, I'll never see him again. I'll just be quicker next... Hmm, weird. I wonder if-

My meeting! I run back to the office and peek in the conference room. Everybody's already in. I'll just sneak in and sit down, nobody will notice. I gently move the chair back: SQQQUUEEAAAK! The speaker stops talking and everybody looks at me. I'll just pretend nothing's happened.

The speaker continues on pointing to a slide with a line graph showing no real trend. "So, as you can see, we project product uptake to increase..." I wonder if I could sneak my phone out and play some Candy Crush. My phone is deep down my pocket though, and I can't really take it out without everybody noticing. Oh well. I look down and remember I have this tablet. I press the button and see images of all the people that are in the meeting room with me. How does this work?

I press the button showing an image of the person talking. A text windows pops up. While I hear him talking, "...that's why we don't use last quarter's performance as a comparison, and instead use last years...", the tablet shows me text: ...I hope everybody's buying this, we got killed this quarter. Oh no, is he raising his hand? No, just scratching his nose...

I close the text window and look around. Steve from Accounting looks like he's fidgeting more than usual. I push the picture of him on the tablet: ...Can I get up now? I really have to go to the bathroom. Everybody look at Greg when he walked in. I don't want any attention...

This is fun! It turns out that meetings go by really quickly when you can peek into everybody's thoughts. Oh! I have a blind date tonight. This is going to be great!

The new toy makes the rest of the day go by quickly. I got held up longer than usual so just make my way directly to the restaurant. I'm seated at the table waiting with my tablet strategically placed at my side.

A woman in office casual attire shows up. "Hi. Greg?"

I get up and give her a quick hug, "Yup, You're Emily?"

We greet each other and sit down. As soon as she's looking at the menu, I press the button on the tablet and select her picture: ...Why are his pants ripped? Did he forget we had a date?... She starts rifling through her purse. ...Oh good, I brought my mace. Is he actually playing on his phone during our date?... She looked up at me and smiled insincerely.

I turned off the tablet as it didn't seem to be helping. The rest of the date seemed to go ok. Or did it?

As we left the restaurant, a tall thin man walked up to us. He looked at my hands and saw the tablet. "Hand me the device." Emily reached into her purse.

I held it up, "Oh, you mean this? Can you prove it's yours?"

He coldly looked at me for several seconds, then grabbed it out of my hand. "I will comply." He definitely is stronger than he looks.

He pushed the image of Emily on the screen and the text window popped up. He then pressed and turned on the button and a keyboard appeared. He quickly types and looked at her. Emily seemed startled and looked around. She looked at me and didn't seem to recognize me at all, "Oh, sorry. Excuse me". She then walked off, muttering "How did I get here?"

I looked back at the tall man and he already had my image selected. He again began typing very quickly.

"Oh, sorry sir. I can see that is your iPad."

He nodded at me and walked away.

Wait, what am I doing here?