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Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Nancy woke up on a weekday, perfectly rested, refreshed and ready to start her day. She woke up to a gentle nudge on her wrist by her newest smartwatch. Ever since she started using the perfect sleep time prediction application that mined data from her schedule, health monitoring devices -- her smartwatch, shoes and the whole lot, she has lost count of how many times she has experienced a perfect sleep. Humans sleep in cycles of time periods characterized by a lot of physical and mental attributes. Sleeping at the perfect moment to gain an integer number of sleep cycles. People wake up from this perfect sleep with a minimum disturbance. Waking up has never been this "easy"  or "perfect" ever before. Waking up is the best when she did not have any reason to wake up in the morning before she had to go to school. Every kid has to wake up to leave for school for more than a decade. Waking up for school is torture! Looking back, it was not all torture. There was mother's love waking her up, mother's tea "really" waking her up and sometimes her cat’s soft purrs near her ears. Then there were alarm clocks. The sonorous beating of metallic drums beeps in digital clocks and artificial rooster sounds on mobile phones. Clocks have sounds, but that was all. She bought her first smart band a little before a decade. It could nudge her wrist rather without the rooster in the mobile phone having to shout  --  not irritating, but not perfect either.

This seemed like the best waking up that could be. But things changed with the sleep monitoring feature update. The application let her know if she has slept enough last day, or if she has had deep sleep and what is not. She tried her best to sleep early so that the app will show  "enough sleep"  the next day.  Three other smart bands and millions of scientific breakthroughs in health sensing and pattern recognition later  --  sleep was perfect now! So perfect that she no longer missed her mother nor the cat. Given the choice, no one would have chosen the messy, late waking up. Almost no one would. Nancy would. Or would not. It did not matter because there was no choice. Perfect sleep was there. Her mother nor the cat was needed. Her mother, back at a faraway nursing home with the best health facilities and the cat, in the infamous barn where all cats go to spend their eternal lives once the veterinary surgeon decides to.  At least when the prediction algorithm in the veterinary surgeon’s workstation decides to.  Sometimes, Nancy wonders if her mother's doctor's workstation will be able to calculate the exact break event point of life's worth and suffering to decide a perfect time as to when she should go knocking on pearly gates. She wishes it would not happen in her mother's natural lifetime. Just like she sometimes wished the veterinary workstation was at least a little late so she could have woken up to the soft purrs of her cat for a few more times, neither perfectly rested nor full of energy to face the new day.

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