Future Present


I know the hip thing is to draw the connection to Back to the Future Part II, but 2015 has an older connotation for me.  When I was a kid, I had a read-along cassette tape that was a futuristic re-telling of The War of the Worlds.  It still had Martians running amok, but we humans had flying cars and laser guns and domed cities for them to blow up.  And the first words in the story were, “The year is 2015 AD,” which, back in the late ’70s, seemed like an impossibly long time away, a distant future that would be indistinguishable from the gaudy, disco-fueled present.

And now the year is 2015 AD and we have no flying cars or laser guns or domed cities.  And no rampaging Martians either, so I guess that’s a win.

Honestly, 2015 doesn’t feel all that different from 1970-something.  Sure, some of the details are miles apart; my 40″ TV would have been a room-hogging piece of furniture back then that would have required several friends and the better part of a day to move around, all to pick up four or five channels at most.  But for the most part, people are still people, doing what people do, only with newer and shinier bells and whistles with which to do it.  Someone from 1955 or 1985 might gape in wonder at your average iPhone, but they’d recognize our clothes, they’d see us still going to the movies and watching TV and riding around in cars on four wheels, and probably not feel all that out-of-place.

All of which is a none-too-subtle reminder that, as cool as all our new toys are, it’s the people we’re travelling through time with that are important.  Because they’re the constants.  They’ll still be there when your smart phone is replaced by the newer model, or when we finally do get that flying car.  They’ll just probably want to borrow yours.

So we turn the calendar forward, and with it comes the return of this little bundle of words, left aside some months ago.  A lot has happened since then — deserving of more space than this penultimate paragraph can contain — but suffice it to say I’ve missed the damn place, and the person it made me feel like, and the routine it made me part of.

And since I used “penultimate” in that previous paragraph, I guess I’m required to type one more.  Please enjoy this etymologically-mandated bit of writing.  And please, use those hoverboards responsibly.

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