He would have liked to sit down, but there was no way he could continue to work if he did. And there was a rush order for his day’s lot. Yarn was needed to make some fancy lady’s dress. And he was the fastest spinner in the factory.
His legs, esp his knees and ankles hurt so badly. And his lower back was just killing him. Almost literally. He was on the edge of swooning and nauseous in his pain. And his fingers were throbbing. If it weren’t for the callouses, they’d be bleeding by now. But they couldn’t have blood on the yarn. Not when a lady’s fancy dress was at stake.
Somehow he kept to his feet, and the yarn kept passing thru his machine. Even though he was seeing the oddest things as he worked. He knew he lived in the year of his Lord 1860. Where time was slower. Where people knew their neighbours. ….
But in his mind, he saw huge cities, full of large concrete buildings. Fast vehicles he had never seen before racing by each other. Yet he still heard the factory whistles and saw workers carrying their lunch buckets and filing into work. And his eyes filled with tears, imagining his great grandchildren in that line. He had started this job to improve their lot in life. And it seemed like nothing would change.
He saw a party of fancy ladies waiting at the theatre for the doors to open and looked at the colours and styles of their clothes. Well, there may be more people, but their costumes were indelicate. His wife wouldn’t stand before him in so little. And he would be shamed to stand like that before her. He wasn’t sure if the world would need more or less fabric with that going on.
He saw the factories in many countries. And in some, the people running the machines were still children. And he looked over at his son, so sad and tired he was almost crying. And worried that nothing had improved in the world he was peeking into.
Finally the order was ready. So he took it to his boss for inspection. And was grateful that it passed his eye. He almost went home, but went back into the factory to help his son finish his day’s order.
Father and son went home and had their supper before falling into bed, exhausted. And father dreamed. Of a time before him when the biggest town had three public buildings in it. When people lived in farms and forts and knew nothing of the larger world. To his own time when they might live in a city, but they knew their neighbours and those they went to church with. To a day when the world had so many in it they were like ants in a colony. Scrambling for food and other daily needs. And still they worked in factories. Men, women and children. For the fancy people to have their parties.
All tied to his machine.
He woke in horror.
He didn’t like that future, but didn’t know what to do to change it. This is how the world would move on it seemed.