Sometimes it seems as if I’ve been in a coma for 50 years and just woke up in the future, disoriented, everything surreal. Yesterday a gas pump started talking and it startled me. Inanimate objects are not supposed to talk in disembodied voices. I reached for an item on a grocery store shelf and a digital screen popped out and started chattering away. I just wanted to slap it.
Everything is a an assault on your senses, a competition for your attention, a distraction. At a store the other day, somebody pointed out how we were on TV, a huge screen, split images that captured our arrival from every direction. Good grief, did we consent to this? I just ducked in for some eggs and now I’ve got a camera tracking my rear end. Who is watching and why? I’m not exactly enthusiastic about these kind of personal invasions.
I suppose I live in the past a bit, spending time in museums, old book stores, living history.
Odd bits of WW2 history are a passion of mine, old photographs, submarine nets that look like giant barb wire fences, war propaganda, yellow and brittle bits of paper. Love stories.
It’s easy to forget that the world has marched on, that technology has advanced at an unprecedented speed. Reality keeps encroaching on my world and half the time I’m not even sure what genre I’m supposed to be living in. My husband looks around and he sees the world of the Walton’s where he grew up, I see a post apocalyptic fashion show, steampunk fantasies trying to merge the past with the future.
Science fiction isn’t fiction anymore. Nothing drives this point home faster than watching the military aircraft buzz us. It makes Star Wars feel quaint and old fashioned. I have quite literally ducked, although hitting the deck is a bit irrational. Black helicopters used to belong to the realm of conspiracy theories and Hollywood movies. Oh no, I assure you they’re quite real.
In spite of tiny glimpses into our technological advances, I am keenly aware that we have progressed far beyond anything I ever get to see. What I observe has already been relegated into antiquity. There’s something chilling about that realization.
I haven’t been reading much sci/fi lately and I realize why. I’m waiting for somebody to come along and tell me that everything is going to be okay, that our future is so bright we have to wear shades. I’m just not feeling it. Don’t get me wrong, I have Someone who tells me exactly that, that all will be well, that the human story has a beautiful ending, that it exceeds my wildest expectations.
Our dreams, our stories, our fiction, have a way of becoming our future. I don’t like what I’ve been reading lately. Mandated debauchery and militaristic totalitarian regimes just don’t cut it for me. Lie if you have to, but show me something that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, that captures the essence of who we are as a people.