A Visitor to the Future - 75 - Enjoyment and Addiction

2022.01.26 10:51 chronohawk A Visitor to the Future - 75 - Enjoyment and Addiction

Antonia moved between the various stalls with the energy of a hummingbird. She wasn't so much interested in sampling all the food as seeing it being made, which she said was half of the fun. As we came to the end of the street I grabbed two cylindrical pastries wrapped in paper which were composed of three interweaved ribbons of crust. I instinctually went to reach for my card to pay before cursing my muscle memory. Some old habits were hard to break.
At the end of the street was a seating area that people seemed to give a wide berth to, the density of the people here much lower. There was a tall sign marked with a simple silhouette of a chair.
"I should tell you about these," said Antonia, pointing at the sign, "These are clear areas - places where you can go to get away from the crowds. If you're not interested in taking a break, you should go straight past."
I offered Antonia one of the pastries, "I could use a moment," I said.
Each of the entwined three pastry ribbons was filled with a different flavouring - one with an airy whipped cream, another with a denser syrup which tasted like summer berries, and the final one with something very similar to cotton candy that seemed like it was carbonated. I watched the crowds filter past, as all sorts of people were swept up in the festival. Most people seemed dressed for the occasion like Antonia, but I saw more than a few just like me - wearing what they'd usually wear but with an accessory or two to get into the spirit of things. You could see the mood of the crowd change as they crossed past a large wind-blowing fan, like a wave of excitement perpetually sustained.
"This is nice," said Antonia between mouthfuls, "But we'll have to check out the wine stalls next!"
"French wine is still as popular as ever then?" I asked.
"Not just French wine! The Drone Festival is a gathering of culture - food, art, wine and wind! You could sample things here from all around the system. But yes, French wine is the best, most popular wine in Sol," she said with a wink, "No bias there at all, no!"
I smiled, "How did this all get started? A festival pairing drones and wind? I'm struggling to see how it all came about."
Antonia folded up the paper that had held her pastry and placed it in a nearby bin, "France has long been the centre of the arts - and of innovation too! The Festival of Lights, The International Kite Festival, even older celebrations like the Biennale de Paris. It's so important to celebrate art and innovation for what it is! So when climate change caused Paris to experience higher than average winds for a few years, some people saw opportunity! They initially planned to use kites but drones were becoming popular, and the rest is, as they say, history!"
Antonia pointed slyly at one of the large turbines, "The windy conditions that the festival were started around no longer exist, but that isn't stopping people! We can make our own wind!"
"Are festivals like this common throughout the Consortium?"
"Oh yes!" she replied immediately, "Everywhere has their own little traditions and cultural heritage. Any excuse to get together and have a good time is a good one in my opinion. All you need is a few people that want to celebrate something important - though some are more popular than others."
"Do you have any other favourites?"
"Too many! There are two opera festivals in Europe which I try to attend every year - I even got to sing a few years back. Then there are Anniversary festivals - those mark the first colonization of a planet or moon. Luna's festival is a bit more subdued, but the one on Mars is insane, lots of alcohol and crethica-based drinks."
"Sorry - crethica?"
"It's a stimulant, a bit like caffeine. More popular on Mars and Eru Ilúvatar. You'll have to try some - there's sure to be some around here. Anyway, on a bit more of a relaxed note, I also like the Hour of Silence, but that's not really a festival. It's an annual event where people get together and pay respects to those who are no longer with us."
Thinking of caffeine, alcohol, and this new substance of crethica, there was a question that had been on my mind for a while.
"Antonia, how do people in the Consortium feel about recreational drugs in general?" I asked, "It's not really something I've heard anyone talk about since I woke up."
Antonia's face screwed up as she thought briefly, "I can only speak for myself, but whatever anyone wants to enjoy, that's up to them. Bio-dev has made most consumption safe, but the majority - myself included - don't bother with anything stronger than caffeine, crethica, or alcohol. You can sample the more exotic things in safe, controlled environments called Sensory Domes - it's a bit like wine tasting really. It was a novel experience the first time I tried it, but it's not something I'd want to do again. Too weird. Why, are you interested?"
"Not really," I said, "But I thought I'd ask. There were a lot of problems with drug addiction in my own time - I just wondered whether with everything being so freely available in the Consortium, there might be similar issues."
"Not that I know of," said Antonia, "Bio-dev has solved most of the physical causes of addiction. But something could still become a habit that we want to stop, in which case there are specialists who can help with that. And that's not just drugs - it could be a lot of things. In the end drugs are better enjoyed in safe quantities in a safe environment with experts nearby. I think that's a common opinion, it just isn't worth risking altering your mind over a short-term hit."
I thought about many of the conditions in my own time that might have pushed someone towards addiction. If the Consortium's understanding of the human body and substances was as I'd come to understand it, and if education was present on the matter, maybe they weren't as prone to the same issues. It certainly seemed like addiction didn't have the same stigma attached to it as it had in my time.
"Ah - I've just thought of something else you might not know about," added Antonia, "There are some substances that are illegal in the Consortium - but not many. I'm talking about the real brain-altering substances, ones that can cause harm beyond what Bio-dev can repair. Not that you or any other rational person would be interested in those!"
My eyebrows raised, but if there was anything that even the near-limitless technology of Bio-dev couldn't fix, I could see why it was banned.
_
Part 76 (Coming soon!)
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2022.01.26 10:51 WayfinderTrio Censoring valid criticism to the mod who went on the Fox News interview is a move in bad faith to the people that actually care about this sub.

Doreen 100% needs to be held accountable. There was no reason for her to do the interview, and now this sub is the laughing stock of the internet. Because of this interview, conservatives, trolls, and general anti-antiwork users are infiltrating. Censorship of obvious troll dickbaggery is understandable. But removing posts of people wanting Doreen held accountable is a low blow hot-fix to an issue that is very rapidly going to get worse.
Our "representor" fucked up. Now we're all on the hot seat. Fucking do something about it.
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