Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Adaptation is "Taking"

It had been eighteen months since my last check on things.  I landed just outside of Los Angeles, California in North America at about mid-day their time.  I got out my camera and started shooting live footage on a college campus where the populous was walking around looking pretty normalized.

I asked a guy walking by where the library was.  “Oh, it’s right over that way in the center of campus.  Just keep going down that way and turn (he indicated right with his hand) and you’ll be right in front of it.”  “Oh, thanks, I said.  “I really appreciate it.”  As we went our ways, I thought to myself, “He really seemed natural.  Yet he’s one of them.  There was nobody left here before, so he’s definitely one of them.  Was this an anomaly?  Just one guy who had adjusted so rapidly?"

I went into the library lobby area where people were busy doing their tasks and then up into the stacks.  Careful to be quiet since it was supposed to be a study situation, I immediately found three women at a long table who had their study materials laid out, but who were, rather, talking and sharing their cell phone pictures with one-another.

I walked up, camera still on to document.  “How are you all doing? I asked.  One of them responded right away with a smile, “Good. We’re supposed to be studying.”  Good, the camera doesn’t bother them.  I said nothing of it, and instead just retorted back,  “But ah, it doesn’t look like it.  Looks more like you all are just kickin’ it a little.”  They laughed. “We’re taking a break.” I asked, "And what are you going to do afterwards?"  Confused, "You mean tonight, or after the break?"  "Tonight, I replied.  "I don't know."  She looked to the others, and one of the others chimed in, "Jumba Juice!"  "They're not open still, another corrected.  The answers didn’t matter that much; just their behavior.  “Well, good night, and get back to studying!”

I left and was amazed at the transformation that had taken place.  It’s the same as I had seen outside as well.  They were totally naturalistic in their new environment; not anxious at all and not looking like they were trying to adapt.  Everyone appeared as if they had made the transformation to their surroundings and were fulfilling their duties as society members.  Who would have thought the change would have been so seamless. It had to have been in order for the whole thing to have worked.

I drove to a nearby residential neighborhood where I saw a guy in an SUV pull up to a house near where I had parked.  Was he getting out, or was he waiting for someone?  Engine was still on and he was adjusting his mirror; definitely waiting on someone.  An Asian guy came out of his house and jumped into the passenger seat, and they drove off.  "Wow!  They’re probably going to Fry’s or Best Buy of their own accord."  No one was directing them or pressuring them.  And they were just going through their lives making no apparent effort to fit in. 

How had the last eighteen months made such a difference?  It was like there had been some sort of critical mass achieved with the number of people brought down to the planet and it had all accelerated.  It was now believable and livable.  Had they not made the adjustment, as with earlier attempts, I’m sure I would have seen people in catatonic states of anxiety rather than feeling free to fulfill the roles that we had laid out for them.