WE NEED A LITTLE FUTURE, RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE

I was on an airplane the other day, and my finger got “caught” in (get this, I kid you not), an ashtray! I suppose what happened was that one of the ashtrays which were eventually soldered up after smoking became banned on airplanes in the eighties, had come loose. Now I’m not going to make this a rant about airlines and their lack of soldering skills, but rather I’m going to make this a rant on what the fuck happened to the future? I have to admit, at my age, I was hoping to be able to get off this asshole planet, and move to the moon or something. I was hoping for flying cars, and tunnels that took me from Los Angeles to New York in an hour. I was hoping for computers with accurate voice recognition, and perhaps food that was nutritious and not full of the pedicides. I was hoping for the future. Well let me let my little 1970’s self in on a little secret, the future sucks!

My car, although has a great stereo, that has an auxiliary jack that allows me to attach my stereo to my ipod, still runs on an internal combustion engine powered by the same fleeting resource it was powered with in my youth … gasoline. It still gets close to the same gas mileage, as did my first car. There are no cars which run on anything else, and there are no cars on the horizon that will run on anything else. The most powerful and advance battery that has been developed resides in my Iphone, and it dies four hours after I turn it on. There are no public transportation systems in place in any great numbers in the west, and no great public transportation system upgrades anywhere in the east. The trains we use go the same speed they did in the 70’s and there are less of them now then there were. Airplanes (as noted by my opening paragraph), not only haven’t improved their technology since the sixties, they are still using the same seats! Any ergonomic designs that could have been utilized have not been, they still go as slow as they did in the 70’s.

Some things have changed, however, I can rent movies online, or have them mailed to me, or downloaded onto my computer. The only great improvement there is that I don’t have to go to the Warehouse Record store anymore, and shift through their inventory, pull out a tape, and rewind it before I return it. DVDs are smaller, but the cases seem to be almost as big as a VHS case (I think that has to do with marketing though). I have a TV that hangs on my wall, but costs almost 10 times more than my previous TV cost. They tell me it’s digital now, but I can’t tell the difference. My friend has an HDTV that seems to look better than mine, but when I get home I forget about it. I can put my entire music collection on a small disc that I can carry around with me, but when it crashes they don’t let me download the music again, and I have nothing to do with the CD’s that used to decorate my home. I have to admit, I never minded pulling out a CD and playing it. I miss record stores, and running into people, and browsing through music. That 30 seconds that Itunes lets you play isn’t the same, and discovering a new band online isn’t the same thrill as it was when you shifted through countless CDs at the Tower Records, or heard them open for another band.

My house is still heated by natural gas, the only difference is that it costs more now. The most comfortable seat in my house is still the recliner. My dishwasher is still noisy, and I still have to wash the dishes before I put them in. My clothes washer still only holds the same amount of clothes, and I only know how to use one setting on it (although there are 100’s). My coffee maker still only makes the coffee warm, and my toaster still either doesn’t toast enough or burns my toast. My blender won’t crush ice, but my fridge has a clock on it, as does my microwave, as does my stove, and my DVD player, and my cable box, as does my TV, as does my car radio, as does my cell phone, as does my computer, as does my camera, as does my … well I was going to say watch, but I don’t wear one. 2008 does make sure I always know what time it is.

Credit cards are still the same size, and use the same magnetic strip that dies at the worse times. My ass still hurts after a while from all the ones I have in my wallet. I still have to save receipts or they won’t take something back, even though I used a credit card to buy it. Grocery stores still ask me if I want help out, but they don’t mean it. They still use paper bags, but they charge me a nickel for them, but they do have handles. ATM cards are convenient, but I never had a problem writing checks, and I hardly ever use my ATM card for anything when I buy things at the store; I use a credit card.

I still get the yellow pages that still sit in my cabinet that I still never use. My car has a GPS, and that is cool, but I never really hated using the maps, and it made me feel smart when I found someplace … GPS just makes me feel like I’m good at following directions, but at least I know where the closest McDonalds is now.

The new Titan Space rockets are blasted from the surface, and land in the ocean, just like the ones in the sixties. We haven’t been to any planet in our solar system, or outside a footlocker in space, have had anyone live there for extended periods of time. We have the internet which is one big commercial that we all pay for, and my phone bill has now gone from around 30 bucks a month to 120 for the cell, 35 for internet, and 50 for the land line. I now pay around 100 bucks for TV and there is still nothing on Saturdays except for a football game. I still type on my computer … voice recognition is still a thing regulated to the distance future. There is online porn, but I never really had a problem with getting porn before.

We still judge people on what they look like, and we still strive to hate. For every group we learn to accept, we find another to despise. We let blacks sit anywhere on the bus they want now, but we still don’t allow others to freely marry. We believe in separate but equal when it doesn’t affect us. We believe that society is a chain that is determined by its weakest link, but we exclude those weak links from society in order to make it seem stronger than it is. People in Africa are still starving, and people in the Middle East are still killing each other. The only people who believe in toleration are the people who are not tolerated.

Today I still shoveled the snow from my sidewalk and driveway because energy is too expensive to use radiant heat. My car is four-wheel drive, but it still doesn’t handle well in the snow. I could go on, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that the future shouldn’t be left to capitalism. We need a future, not just a more convenient past, or an easier 1983. We need innovations, and breakthroughs. We need energy that is clean and free. We need explore things, which advance humanity and not just someone’s wallet. We need a future.

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