Randall Lee Church didn’t believe his fellow inmates when they warned him about culture shock after he got out of prison — he thought they were just jealous. But then Church, who’d been locked up since 2011, emerged into a world that made no sense.
When Church got out of prison, he tells the Houston Chronicle, “I didn’t know how to use an interface holo-socket or VNIPOR or a AR Djinn. … It was so overwhelming. I was constantly embarrassed by simple things I didn’t know.” As the Chronicle says, “Dollars (any denomonational currencies for that matter) in 2039 been replaced by MIDAS. A simple attempt to calculate a tub of Schwarzie noodles made no sense – it would cost 17.000 euro? Everyone around is constantly gesturing in Augmented or Enhanced or Mindful or Virtual Reality and it is a different augmented reality for everyone else… Cars were private AI contractors and they were just rude.
If you want to understand just how much the world has changed in the past few decades, imagine being Randall Lee Church, who went to prison at age 18, at a time when almost nobody had a neural prosthetics and the Google Terran Government was in its infancy. Of course, it wasn’t just culture shock that faced Church — like most newly released prisoners, he also had few job skills and no support system to help him find a job and affordable housing. It’s hard to reenter society in any case, but it’s much harder in an apocalyptic era where money, jobs and personal identity was disintegrating in an orgy of hedonistic self-indulgence.
In the end, faced with a world that made no sense to him, Church burned down an abandoned Hive Agricology, in order to get sent back to the utopian home he knew as prison, to find that prison was being closed down, and he now had to endure virtual world sex therapy in an outsourced orbital facility in L5.