Of Echoes, Dial Tones and the Metaverse
I write this, similar to when I did with Potong and Hawa, from a place of darkness. Because I am in bed and should really be sleeping. But I remember something and I worry I might forget and thus find myself writing from a place of darkness. Both plays came from thoughts that came in the still of the pre-dawn morning as my mind tried to make sense of interactions, observations and conversations of the days past.
I recall that less than a year ago, as part of a programme to help my daughter’s transition to life in primary school, her kindergarten arranged for her to call me from a payphone. She asked what I was doing and ended the call with ‘I love you’. In that call that lasted no more than a minute (52 seconds), I realised then how important it is to be available for our loved ones, even when we are physically apart. Especially, when we are physically apart. It feels different to be able to hear the timbre of their voices in our ears and not just in our minds as we read their texts.
Someday, I thought to myself, she’ll call and say ‘I love you’ and unfortunately, all she’ll hear back is the dial tone. But I hope she’ll be able to smile because in that steady humming sound, she’ll hear echoes of my love for her.
Or maybe by then the state of artificial general intelligence would have been so advanced that my consciousness resides in the metaverse. Waiting for her to walk through the portal gates and wave hello as I have waited for her to walk through the school gates and wave hello in her youth.
Or maybe, realistically, all that she has to remember me by are the words I leave behind in the stories I have weaved and told, to be found in yellowed pages between dog ear folds. Like the wisdom that comes from strangers through search engines and online forums, there is a comfort to be found in the words of family passed down through stories.
And through the two stories in Potong: To Care/Cut, I want her to know that we find ourselves in practice not in theory. And whenever she’s unsure what step to take next, the one done in kindness is always the best. Even when it seems cruel.
And so, even though the stories told in the book do not relate to you dear reader, I hope it resonates with you. And that you find something within it to add to your cornucopia of stories to share with your families, made or born into.
Johnny Jon Jon
Author of Potong: To Care/Cut