"Nah, I'ma hav't' go to the Bank this weekend," I said.
I wasn't looking forward to the trip. It usually took up the entire two days. The first six hours were spent in a decontamination room to keep your shit out of the facility. I put in a reminder on my watch to set up an appointment with the epilator.
Now that was another business that hadn't existed in the Before. Barbers? Yes. Epilators who went over your body with a fine toothcomb to dehair you? They were a product of the age. Anything which could reduce the tedious hours in Decontam by even a little was a sunrise industry now. The latest in that space were Vibrooms. For a small fortune, you could spend a few hours in a vibrating room which played a subsonic sound attuned to your resonant frequency to shake loose microscopic crud from your ears, under your nails, the corner of your eyes while you listened to muzak to save you from focusing on the weird feeling of doom and foreboding that subsonic sounds usually produced in people.
I had never done a Vibroom. The cost benefit ratio would never work for a drone like me. They'd have to force insurance to cover the cost of a session before I'd willingly subject myself to a mild panic attack to save 30 minutes in decontam.
Shar, the dude I was hanging out with, had been to a Vibroom once. His family had pitched in for his 26th. Their idea of a rite of passage - adult life simultaneously being extremely tedious and terrifying for the 120 odd years it stretched out on average after 26, a Vibroom was supposed to be a gentle introduction to it in controlled settings. He didn't ever bring it up. I suspect because it wasn't particularly enjoyable.
So who ever went to a Vibroom? The mercernary bean counter in me was sure that only people who made much more money every hour than a Vibroom session cost would want to put themselves through it. The only saving grace was that it truly gave you back some time in Decontam.
"Why you nee'ta go to the Bank? Wha'going on with you?", Shar asked.
"The tests came in last month. I've reached Ennui," I said. I didn't think I had, actually. The therapist was full of shit, just trying to rack up numbers for kickbacks. More than me, she was the one who needed to reach Ennui.
"I've never hit Ennui, you read?", Shar said. Ennui today was like virginity in the Before. People who hadn't reached it wore it like a self imposed yellow star of shame. The rest of us didn't give a shit, which was the whole point of Ennui but nothing could convince people like Shar that no one else cared if he was still unfucked in the head.
"Wha'does it feel like? Is it like...?", Shar asked.
"Man, it really feels like a regular ol'deprivation chamber. You have this whooshing silence which sounds like really loud blood rushing through your ears. You keep looking inside and wave after wave after wave of light rises right up in front of the back of your eye. All you think about is about what you are thinking about. It's very catatonic," I told him.
"And tha'what pisses me off about the Bank," I continued. "Why aren'they letting us go any further? Why do I hav'to go? I am happy to do more MM."
"Dude, isn't it enough that you'pulled your limbic brain right into the pre-frontal?" Shar looked like I had asked to be waterboarded.
"I don'know man. If evolution was not supposed to proceed at this pace, B wouldn'have discovered Mindfulness. I want to trust the old guy on this but they just don't want us to go past the Third," I said, referring to the point attained by VeeGee, a prominent practitioner of meditation in the Before. He had studied the Yoga Sutra, studied his own meditation practice, and self certified that he was about a third of the way to where Patanjali had gone.
Since VeeGee had been such a champion of do-good humanism who had come back from the brink to build hexayurts, you could only go until there and no more. Psychs everywhere had been instructed to direct people to the Bank once they reached the third point.
In a way, this was ok. In some hard core, power yoga type practitioners, parts of the limbic brain had started to shrivel. Brain scans had shown that the PFC had started taking over the instinct. The first symptoms were the most innocent. People had started dawdling in front of dessert debating themselves into a standstill where they should just reach out and grab a donut.
As MM spread through society, crossed boundaries from the subcontinent into the wider world, people were going catatonic with analysis paralysis. Straight women and gay men claimed to have lost their sense of vibrant color. Straight men and butch women didn't respond as strongly to smells any more. Birth rates had started declining. Researchers had raised the alarm about the speed with which the human brain had reached this state. "Evolution on steroids" - the Washington Post. "Indian mystery spreads mental mayhem" - the Dawn of Pakistan, clickbaiting until the very end.
So the Fuckers movement had started up. They had really and truly ruined Ennui for everyone. They wanted people to get back to being people, fighting, arguing, making more people. And since most people, having already reaching the Second, couldn't be bothered to vote, the Fuckers had swept the elections. Their first act was to set up the Bank.
They started collecting and storing every newborn's first poop under lock and seal at the Fecal Bank. They had branded it Stem Fecal. They certainly knew how to use words to induce compliance.
The theory was that since the human body is a biome, having a reference poop to revert the changes in us brought about by MM would give us some control over Ennui.
To a degree, it worked. Our lives proceed in such random ways that it isn't always possible to take a stem fecal pill to revert every change inside us.
People who had quit smoking for instance started smoking again because their shit had a tendency to smoke. Go figure.
"So yeah, we are stuck at Third. I want to go beyond."