I wake up on a Saturday morning, and realize it’s already almost noon! I jump out of bed and hustle into the supersonic shower (we can’t use water to wash anymore, it’s too scarce.) I grab a muffin and a glass of soy milk, compost the crumbs, feed my pet rabbit and water the plants, and run outside to get on my bike, to go to the train station. It’s off to downtown L.A. to head to my salon.
My neighborhood looks like it was built by IKEA and came in a flat-pack box. The first ones actually were made by IKEA, but now everyone makes them. The apartments are stacked side by side like cardboard boxes – 600 square feet per person, allotted by the city government. Mine is furnished more nicely than most, one of the perks of owning a successful salon.
There are cacti in my front yard; I’d removed the sod which the previous owner had when I moved in. Xeroscaping is in!I get to the station and the train is about to leave. I chain up my bike next to thousands of others (making careful note of the location, I’ll never find it again otherwise) and get on the quiet mag-lev train for a smooth ride into the center of Los Angeles. It’s midday, so the train is only half full, and I actually get a seat instead of having to ride standing in the corridor between the rows of seats as usual. No one uses a car in Los Angeles anymore, since they put the congestion charge into effect in 2018. The train is cheaper and more convenient, and you don’t have to worry about parking. Most people don’t even own cars anymore anyway – why bother with the fuss and expense, when there’s an excellent public transport network? Individual vehicles are only for farmers or the super wealthy these days.The train station is completely empty of the trash barrels I remember from my youth, though there is a discreet recycling center for things you just can’t avoid discarding.
The walls are covered in flat-screen television panels, which broadcast news from around the world in a multitude of languages. The schedule announcements flash in 30 languages, one right after another. America is no longer a single-language nation, though English speakers still form a slight majority.The train pulls into Wiltshire Boulevard station, and the doors shush open.
I step out onto the platform, walk down the steps and across the street, and there I am – my salon! The storefront is paneled in shiny chrome which forms a perfect mirrored surface for passers-by to check out their hair. Above the door is my name, spelled out in tasteful black lettering.I step through the black glass revolving door, and am greeted by my junior stylists, Jim and Tim. They were just married last month, and both still wore silly grins. (California finally legalized same-sex marriage in 2032, after a Supreme Court ruling that forced them to.) Jim waved the blow dryer he was charging at me.
Most small appliances ran on hand-power now, like the flashlights they invented when I was a teenager. “Hey, boss!” he called out. “Guess who we’ve got coming in today?” I checked the appointment schedule, and my heart fluttered. Even after all these years of being the hottest Stylist to the Stars in Hollywood, I still got a schoolgirl blush when I thought of how wonderful it really was.