VOLTE FACE

Many times when young I wished I could see fifty years into the future:  what would I find?

TODAY WITH A bucket of coffee in Starbucks I realised with a jolt that “Dammit! I am in the future!” (he’s swift this guy, I tell you). Maybe not the ‘colonies on the moon and robotic housemaids’ future we envisioned but a future nonetheless, and in some ways one even better. Sitting at this little table watching the spring damsels flitting by outside I have a smaller than a ciggie packet telephone in my pocket capable of reaching the whole world for mere cents at a moment’s notice. We used to have to hike up and down the street looking for a phone box—hopefully one that was working (and wouldn’t swallow our pennies without connecting).

IN MY OTHER pocket there’s a library of over two hundred books still with room for almost three thousand more; and on my wrist a watch with no cogs or hands but boasting multiple stop-watches, alarms, count-downs, recording barometer, compass, tides, moon states and day-date-calendar with near perfect accuracy. Outside in the street cars still go by on wheels (hold the hover) but many of them are routinely capable of telling the driver to turn left at the next lights if he wants Deveron Street—from constellations of artificial satellites hundreds of miles overhead, his location accurate to within a couple of inches 24/7.

ENOUGH of technology~! Standing at the counter ordering a latté (fifty years ago: “A lartay? Wot the hell’s a lartay? We only sell coffee here—you bin drinking?”)* . Oops … Standing at the counter ordering a latté right now is a young lady with a not-at-all-discreet set of Chinese characters in garish green tattooed into the back of her neck. Yuk. Fifty years ago only the most macho male of sailors got tatts; women didn’t wear that sort of clothing in public, and (get this) she hadn’t put her face on. I love it.

NOW THAT I’M IN my own future, would I swap back—trade this world for that?

TOO BLOODY right I would! Even if I had to retain this well matured carcass exactly as is. But: only if I can keep this computer and the internet; otherwise no deal.

AND WHAT of your own good self? Would you choose to go back—even if you could trade in the ol’ bod for a new? Or would you rather suffer the ATM machines, credit cards, 3D colour movies, shopping malls, television ‘sets’ that hang from the wall, ball-point pens that actually work … and real coffees?

KISMET

*  You had choice: stewed coffee, stewed tea, or a milkshake. And that was IT~!

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