Scared Of Technology Essay, Research Paper
The supermarket was going to be a doomsday dungeon this Sunday afternoon for
James Faruggulo, but he knew he had to go. He had given the housekeeper a week off
to lie around in the warm tropical waters off of Jamaica. She did the laundry, cooking,
cleaning and of course, she always fetched the groceries. Even the perfect layer of
atmosphere which lay upon the earth that day could not keep his mind from
wandering. Bright blues could be seen through the sky, bright yellows bouncing from
his windshield by the sun.
If only people saw things the same way James did. He had read about the radiation
risks in the July issue of the Times Magazine. Microwave ovens with faulty doors, x-
ray machines constructed before the 1980s, and computer monitors were all capable
of giving off as much radiation as a small-scale nuclear weapon throughout one’s
lifetime. Even the radar scanner in your local grocers checkout lane could rearrange
your molecules in ways God never intended. James believed that most people knew
this. Either they didn’t believe it or they just didn’t care.
As he passed through the automated doors, he gave the electronic sensors a careful
glance, wondering if they, too, gave off unwanted x-rays. James never did his own
shopping and had yet to actually leave the store with a product, but this time was
different. This time James had to face the demon.
The inside of the supermarket was gigantic. Flickering, fluorescent light splashed the
floor from its halogen fixtures nested in the metal beams and rafters of the ceiling. A
place full of radioactive x-rays. He moved quickly through the aisles, stepping around
displays with the quickness of a halfback, dodging carts like a pinball. After he
gathered his groceries, he went straight to checkout number six. That was the longest
line, with four people ahead of him.
The rarity of grocery shopping had caused an awkward situation for both James and
the demon. One time he had tried to get the checker to ring up everything by hand, but
she had only given him a blank stare. She had asked why, as if she didn’t know.
Another time he only bought things, which didn?t have a barcode. The cashier, who
barely looked fifteen, looked at him, then manually type in the prices.
The line now shortened by two.
Another time, James scribbled out every barcode number with a black permanent
marker before bringing the groceries to the checkout lane. He was thrown out of the
store for tampering with the goods.
The remaining customer was a short, lady purchasing six bags of cheese puffs. She
finally claimed her groceries from the ?bagger? and moved out of the checkout lane.
The radiation seemed not to effect her. Maybe it was all in his head. Could it be that
James was wrong?
Radiation or not, James took a deep breath and pushed his trolley forward.
“Good morning,” the checkout chic said. She didn’t mean it. “Paper or plutonium,
“What!” James answered with a shocking stare. Perhaps they did know all along, and
now it leaked from their mouths.
“Paper or plastic?” she repeated impatiently.
“Oh, …ahh paper, I guess.”
Everything moved in slow motion from that point on. James watched her hand grasp
the box of Kraft cheese and macaroni. It drifted towards the ?glass-plated abyss?,
barcode face down.
As the box moved over the scanner, the world suddenly exploded in a blast of red
light. Everyone around him now wore melting masks of flesh. They dropped to their
knees and clutched their chests. The scanner gave the sound of an air raid siren. Then
everything came back into focus like a slingshot.
The red light disappeared. The sirens becalmed inaudible. People around him were
now wearing their Sunday Shopping faces instead of melting masks. Everything was
James was indeed mistaken. He had faced the demo. With the visions of radiation
treatment centers and chemotherapy sessions erased from his mind, he grabbed his
bags and walked through the automated doors. He didn’t even give them a second
look this time. The day was still terrific, but was it this quiet before? As he jumped in
his car, he briefly felt as though something might be wrong, maybe something in the
air. He couldn’t put his finger on it.
He sped out of the parking lot and turned on to Warringah Road heading towards
Beacon Hill. Large trees lined both sides of the street in long rows. The vegetation
didn?t seem to attract any animals today. As James came into a clearing, he looked at
the cloudy sky covering the thousands of roofs of the suburb. And that’s when he saw
it, faint in the distance, almost a mirage. It was simple, logical, and it was horrifying.
James pulled over to the side of the road and turned the car off. He took a deep breath
and watched the billowing mushroom cloud part the sky.