Meeting the ghost of myself coming home

I wasn’t enjoying my coffee and cake.

My dead mother was grumpy and both the cafe and home toilets had tried to gang up on me.

Sitting in the window, looking at the new shirt, I turned Mum over in my hand and tried to decide whether to lie to her or not.

Until ten minutes ago, I’d been having a good trip into town. My valet had been told about a shirt sale which my new shopper hadn’t learnt about and I’d decided to come in specially.

There’d been glitches in the transfer of settings from my old shopper to the new one. I’d tried fiddling with it but I’d probably have to offload it to a friend who liked playing around with +personas. He said he enjoyed getting them talking honestly to each other.

I liked the new shirt. I liked plaid.

I’d sat in the window so I could look at it properly. It was near lunchtime so the lights were dimmed inside as the panini makers were running all the time. The power management system here was slightly too aggressive when trying to save the owner’s money.

I turned down my sight: that dropped all the +persona avatars and halved the number of people walking past. It also stopped Mum sharing my visual input locally. She’d never liked me in anything but stripes and her current memories were strongly linked to a photo of me when I was 11 wearing a blue striped shirt.

I didn’t really like lying to her or editing her limited current memory. She was disappearing a bit every day and I wasn’t comfortable messing with her progressive loss.

I put the shirt back in the bag and started on my cake. I was going to enjoy this, whatever the toilets had agreed on.

Once I’d bought the shirt, I realised I needed to pee and thought it’d be a good time for a coffee too.

My shopper mentioned this and a few cafes had popped up with spare seats and good prices nearby.

Again, it was my valet who’d had to remind my shopper about the data respect offer we had here. I’d agreed to let them have my detailed food purchasing information and they let me have a free cake every week.

Going to the toilet first had been the mistake really.

I’d arrived a bit ahead of the estimated walk-in time so my coffee wasn’t quite ready. That cake had made me keener to arrive, I guess.

My valet told me as I washed my hands. He hadn’t mentioned the downstairs toilet’s opinion but now the cafe toilet was saying the same thing. I had too much sugar in my pee and they both thought that cutting cakes and sweets out would be a good idea.

I put my foot down. I only get to take up this cake offer every now and again and I was enjoying my trip. Frankly, the toilets could go and talk to the fridge about getting something else with lower sugar for later in the week. That might be enough to stop them telling my GP.

I’d been distracted by this argument when I’d sat down and that’s why I’d forgotten to turn my sight down before looking at the shirt. My mum saw it and I just got an instant wave of her sense of disappointment.

I finished my coffee and cake. Turning up my sight before leaving, I asked my shopper to show my Mum some other shirts we’d seen. I popped her in my pocket and walked out into the crowd.

As I walked back to the bus stop, they’d agreed on a nice blue striped shirt. They’d already arranged a swap at the shop by the time my valet told me.

So my Mum had a nice trip to the shops with me and I was willing to compromise with her.

It’s just the bloody toilet I couldn’t stand.

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