I signed up for garden duty today, again. Edward wasn’t there, nor was Arjun. I don’t think any of the Zoës were there. It’s not like they always have a Zoë with us, as if the Zoës were guards. It’s more like we’re kids on a field trip and there has to be a teacher with us at all times. Unless there isn’t one. Like today. Today it felt more like we were grownups.
I talked to a guy named Reese today, and he had a similar attitude. He described it like being on probation. We had to get permission to go to the other regions, he said. We do not have freedom of movement. When he put it that way, it bothered me. He said he found out the hard way. This place is set up like a Möbius strip. Try walking due east to the next region and you’ll find yourself back where you started.
When he said that, it made me uncomfortable. I felt trapped. I travelled a lot in the world that was. Germany. China. Switzerland. The idea of being forbidden to travel smacked of totalitarianism. My Cousin George fought Communists in Korea. My wife’s mother almost got stuck in Nazi Germany. For my own part, I will always remember the Berlin Wall. Restricting travel is the first thing a totalitarian regime does.
But until I talked to Reese, it never felt like that kind of place. Then I remembered, there is more than one kind of tyranny. There’s 1984, and there’s Brave New World. Until my conversation with Reese, I hadn’t seen that the Zoës could be guards instead of guides. Or both. Maybe they’re the den mothers of our Cub Scout pack.