The world of 2053 in which Leonard Mead walks the lonely streets and looks into the dark houses where only the dim light of a television shines, is alienated, dehumanized, and sterile.
Leonard walks every night down moonlit sidewalks and finds that
...he was alone in this world of A.D. 2053, or as good as alone.
He feels as though he walks through a graveyard in which "gray phantoms seemed to manifest upon inner rooms." There is never a person outdoors, no one to greet, no one with whom to visit, no one to give sound to the dark silence. The streets are silent and empty. So, Leonard looks into the houses to see if there is any light or life within.
"Hello, in there," he whispered...."What's up tonight on Channel 4, Channel 7, Channel 9....?"
For a moment Leonard thinks he hears laughter, but as he continues to listen, he hears no more sound. The houses are like tombs, poorly lit by the dim lights of televisions before which people sit numbed, desensitized, and alienated from their neighbors. Leonard is the only pedestrian outside, and even the car that arrests him has no driver.