Work

“Back in my day things were different.” Gramma settles into her rocking chair sipping from her cup of tea.

 

“Oh here we go again.” Mom says softly but not softly enough. Both Gramma and I look at her accusingly and she shakes her head and leaves the room.

 

I look back at Gramma and give her a reassuring smile. I wanted her to go on, ‘her day’ was fascinating to me.

 

“Take off those damn glasses and look at me with your eyes child.” Gramma was referring to my VR Headset. She was the only person I knew that never used one.

 

I take it off and settle onto the floor in front of her rocking chair leaving the headset within reach. “Tell me about ‘Work’ Gramma.”

 

“We had to work all day long, 5 days a week. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. If you wanted a nice place to live, nice clothes and nice things you had to exchange your time for the money to do these things.”

 

“What work did you do?” I ask her as she takes another sip of her tea.

 

“I was a teacher, I worked at a school. But it was more than just work to me, it was meaning, it was purpose.” Gramma looks at me with sad eyes and sighs. “That’s what your generation is missing out on.”

 

“What’s a school?” I was having a hard time visualizing the meaning of Gramma’s words without my headset. Mindlessly I reach for it but Gramma pushes it away with the tip of her shoe.

 

“A school was a place where children your age came to learn about math, reading, writing and history.”

 

“Why? My headset does all of those things, it seems silly to go to a place for that.” An overwhelming urge to show her my headset is held in check by Gramma’s eyes.

 

“To prepare you for life, to prepare you for work, to make you think for yourself and to make friends. That’s why!”

 

“I have friends, I can show you their profiles…” I reach again for the headset. Gramma is quicker. She brings her foot down on it hard, shattering the visor. “Gramma!”

 

Mom rushes into the room to see what all the noise is about. Her eyes grow wide looking at the broken headset. “Look at this! What have you done? How am I going to explain another broken headset. You know we are only allotted one each per year!”

 

Mom touches the side of her own headset and with a trembling voice begins to speak. “I need an immediate elderly pickup please, at my location.”

 

My VDog begins barking at the door and I know that a pick up drone is waiting on the other side. I gasp. Gramma begins to cry. I just have time for one more hug goodbye.

 

 

Copyright 11/12/2015 – Work by Kerry Milauskas

 

 

 

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