Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Columns

April 14, 2010

The world of tomorrow is getting further away

Pauls Valley — Once way back in this great society of ours we actually spent a great deal of time pondering what was to come. Many a generation was convinced that in a matter of decades the future would become so futuristic that we could stop calling Walt Disney a liar.

Take your pick, if we depend on it as a part of our daily lives, it should have been mind blazingly similar to those cute animated programs by now. Yet, as I drive to work day after day in my 1988 pimptastic Chevy Astro Van, those predictions seem to lack a little more each day. Don’t get me wrong, I like my chick magnet of a ride, but it doesn’t exactly travel at light speed.

Make no mistake, we have made quite a few leaps in areas like computers as well as medicine, though we must have missed the ball on the rest. I’m not saying we should become any lazier a species than we are capable of, I just wonder if we could speed up on areas like long distance travel.

Ok, so deep space travel with the current presidential administration is as likely as liquor by the drink in every Bible belt town, but can’t we pick it up on at least vacations? I’m still waiting for my car with a fully automatic navigation system and auto pilot so I can play board games at a table in the back with friends/family instead of biting my nails each time I get on the interstate. Sure, the robotic shaving thing on a bumpy road might have a few glitches like decapitation, but we’ll just replace that with a smoothie dispenser.

Then again, we could just have the deep space technology without the travel to other planets working for earthly purposes. Yes, I don’t recommend we make ourselves into asphalt pâté by making the speed limit several thousand miles per hour, yet science fiction movies show us it can be instantaneous.

Ask any Trekkie or Star Gate fanatic who still lives with his mother to explain the whole rush from point a to point b technology and pretty soon it sounds like the most fantastic way to take a break from the open road (or cramped airplane cabin). We don’t have to remove the road trip entirely, but as any elder member of crotchety anonymous will tell you, it’s hard on them bones to go much further than the closest buffet line. That 10 hour trip to my in-laws feels so much less exhausting at the mere thought.

However, saving up for such options on my wages would probably take me until the next millennium. There’s also no way I want the government regulating a method of transport that sends me via several billion molecules.

I suppose that leaves me just about where I started this article, dreaming of those promises unfulfilled. It makes me wonder though if I could set a precedent by suing the entertainment conglomerates for childhood compensation. Then at least I could afford a ride into orbit with the Russians.

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