This is a true story. This actually happened.
Everything in this essay exists.
A Cyberpunk Bathroom in the Middle of Nowhere
The United States is conspicuous.
Advertisements straddle 48,756 miles of asphalt like 60-foot weeds. US billboards are windows into America’s soul: strip clubs, bible verses, casinos, lawyers, and fast food.
And if billboards are windows, gas stations are doors. Gas stations compress car culture and consumerism into a corporate copy/paste container. Pump your SUV full of corn oil while you purchase cigarettes, beer, and junk food.
There’s a giant ice cream sundae building between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The ice cream sundae conceals a giant water tank at “California’s largest gas station”. Welcome to Eddie World.
I wasn’t surprised to find tiny digital billboards adorning each urinal. Of course somebody is monetizing my 40-second piss break.
On the screen, a cartoon penguin skied against a barrier on the left. What? 0 points? Then it hit me. It wasn’t an advertisement – it was a video game! And it was controlled by my “joystick”!
I earned 15 points. A leaderboard appeared with 10 names like “William” and “Nathan” on it. For obvious reasons, I declined to enter my name on the touchscreen.
I fear the implementation details. Cameras are ~$15 and computer-vision is free. Let’s pray they’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
For better or worse, we live in the future.