You are sat in the shade under the solar panels. It is the hottest part of the day, the best charging time and there is nothing to do but sit and wait.
She says, “It’s best of course to use energy as you harvest it, but this thing is so unstable with all the sails out and without them we don’t get enough juice to keep moving.”
You nod. The unfolded sails have legs to support them. You can’t imagine the machine in motion with all that extra width.
“So I tried to find other ways to make it work, and this heats the water as well. I try not to let anything go to waste.”
It’s a clever system. You hadn’t realised the woman sat alongside you designed this machine. You hadn’t really thought much about anyone designing it.
While you wait, she tells you stories. She is amusing, and clearly in the habit of passing the time this way. You are hot, and uncomfortable and her voice is soothing. It strikes you that she is someone who makes her life with her own hands, out of whatever fragments can be found. Her clothes are beautiful, and you can see how they have been cleverly put together from scraps and elaborately stitched. You wish you had her skills, and say so.
“It just takes time, and patience,” she says. “Anyone could do any of the things I’ve done.”
This strikes you as unlikely, but it is a persistent thought and stays with you. What could you do just by getting in there and having a go? What do you want to do?
(Art by Dr Abbey, part of an ongoing fiction collaboration, currently we’re world building and thinking about what form this project will eventually take.)