Monday, July 13
#28 - time bank
A new business has set up shop on the corner of one of your town's busier intersections. The company bills itself as a "time bank" and intrigued, you pay the location a visit one Saturday afternoon.
Once inside the classy, high-tech interior, you are guided to an open desk of one of the time bank's consultants. After a short amount of small talk, the consultant explains how the bank operates.
Those running the business have pioneered a method by which a person can reclaim (withdraw) time from earlier in their life. These withdrawals can be from a certain time period (the summer months of 1992, for instance), or interestingly enough, tied to specific experiences. The bank consultant throws out the example of piano lessons. If you feel that the piano lessons you were put through as a child were a waste of time, you can reclaim any or all of that time to be applied to other endeavors. The catch is that you will no longer have any memories or skills associated with those times. If you retain any of your knowledge of playing piano, it would be erased once you made the withdrawal (which involves a quick, painless, safe scan of your brain).
Once you have this additional time on your hands, you are somewhat limited in how it can be used. There is no real way for this time to simply be added to the end of your natural life (though the consultant implies that some research was initially done in this area). Instead, the time bank carries an extensive set of "skill cassettes". Your knowledge from the erased time will be replaced by a corresponding amount of knowledge from any combination of these cassettes (which include sports, foreign languages, etc). Though there are some differences, the process is likened to what was shown in the original Matrix film. An important factor to bear in mind when making these selections is that you will be limited by your own mind and body. The tapes will not have the same effect on every individual. If you are not naturally predisposed to excelling at golf, it would take a longer time with the golf cassette for you to fully internalize its contents.
There is a nominal fee associated with setting up an account and doing business at the time bank, but it does not strike you as an unreasonable amount. You take some of the available literature and head home to ponder the possibilities.
Do you return to the time bank? Before you left, the bank agent made a point to caution you as to how you make your selections. Any memories (including places or people) associated with the withdrawn time will cease to exist in your brain, so there is the possibility of altering relationships in ways that would be difficult to predict.
Posted by Matt at 11:12 PM