I woke this morning with an explanation for my wife, Gay.
She had noticed that the berries on the trees were all suddenly black where they had been red just a few days ago. I had been puzzling for days in my dream last night over the sudden change in the color of the fruit around town. It came to me suddenly as I rode my bike through the streets of Ithaca while sleeping in the early morning hours.
We had launched On Demand lessons a month prior in my nocturnal future reality. Our unprecedented growth in recent months had resulted in a sudden splurge of enrollments in these lessons, resulting in large, conspicuous clusters of red berries on the trees of Ithaca that we all admired and were very proud of. Some wondered if it was the recent dry spell that caused the fruit to wither, or just the natural changing of the season that caused the trees to blacken. It took me a while, but looking at the code for the trees revealed that the fruit was programmed to change color in precisely 30 days. It just happened to be that the initial cohort of companies that had signed contracts for our new offering were just now, en masse, reaching that 30 day threshold. I realized that the citizens of Ithaca, who had gotten quite used to red berries on the trees, had experienced something they never would again. The norm was really a mix of new, red berries (for students who had recently completed their lessons) and older, black berries (for letters of completion older than 30 days). This made complete sense to me as I explained it all to Gay in the dawn's dim light. She challenged me a bit and I told her she could prove it to herself. "Go ahead! Download a black berry and print it. See...it still prints fine!"
"You're funny!" she said. I got out of bed, put my shoes on, and slumped downstairs to the coffee pot.