Dispatches from the Future (B-list)

DOWN

I followed the quick-start instruction manual, and the DOWN activity and sleep bracelet paired with my sub-dermal wireless interface without incident. Almost immediately I stated getting some relief, although it took a little discipline to click the innocuous button on the bracelet ten minutes before my scheduled bed time. After a few weeks of use I felt well rested and ready for even the most stressful of days. I was, for the first time in a long while, getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Even better, the scheduling utility that is built into the app and activated by the bracelet meant that I never missed a wake-up call. The device got me to sleep on-time night after night, and woke me up gently morning after morning. That said, I still think that there should be a warning label on the packaging.

My problems started when I set the wrist device down on the window sill above the kitchen sink one evening before doing dishes. I had made lasagna and the pans were in desperate need of a good scrubbing. The bracelet had become a consistent and inoffensive part of my day-to-day life, but I forgot to replace it on my wrist when I finished the dishes, tidied up the living room, and headed off to perform my evening ablutions. Bed time was upon me, I could feel it.

I completed everything and crawled into bed exactly ten minutes before I was supposed to click the button and fall asleep, but without the wrist control there was nothing to click and sleep did not come. Unfortunately I was too tired to remember this all too critical component of my sleeping success. Without that button I could not sleep. I lay in bed for hours staring at the ceiling, waiting for the sub-dermal interface to queue sleep state via my neural lace. It never came.

Completely sleep deprived, I wandered off to work the next morning, again forgetting to put on the device. This went on, night after night, for at least a week, during which I’m certain I got only a fleeting hour or two of rest. A coworker noticed first that my job performance was suffering and my temper was exceptionally short; he stopped in my office and closed the door to ask me if there was anything he could do to help when he noticed the missing bracelet.

When it works, the DOWN activity monitor and sleep aid is the most effective way to get ahead. Constant biofeedback data allowed me to schedule my day effectively and efficiently and I had what seemed like ever increasing energy levels. Until lasagna night, in fact, I was well on my way to become master of my domain. But the bracelet, while completely effective, is a critical failure point in this otherwise excellent lifestyle management system. Loss or damage to the device has the potential to turn your world upside down.

It has taken me half a year of physical and emotional therapy conditioning to separate myself from this aid. I am no longer dependent on the device for sleep, however, today I must regularly make visits to my pharmacist. Anxiety and even insomnia induced paranoia are an unending concern. Habit forming dependence should be clearly called out as a potential downside to extended DOWN use.

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