Scanorama: Future

Below is a column that ran in the December issue of Scanorama. And here’s an image to illustrate it.

Flying cars?

Future is not now

A part of me is obsessed with the future, and especially time travel. I remember very vividly the first time I saw Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. The year was 1985, and I got a free ticket to the matinée, sponsored by JVC. My father was an appliance store manager. After the show, I ran the three miles to the hockey rink, I was so full of energy.

Ten years later, I actually – and I’m not embarrassed to admit this, not anymore – left work early to be home for Quantum Leap, the TV show about a time traveler who ends up in different people’s bodies, in different times.

Somehow, we never seem to catch up with the future. It keeps running away from us.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a weird time warp that made my brain turn into a knot, just like when I’m trying to figure out the plot of Heroes (second season).

This is what happened. My son was watching an animated TV show that I used to like when I was a kid. The last episode was about the future of the mankind, how we’ll be moving to Mars, and travel at speeds that are almost the speed of light, and how we’ll send expeditions to other galaxies.

My son was sitting in his favorite chair, glued to the TV. Or, “sitting”. He was hanging upside down, but just as fascinated by the vision of a future where we’d be zipping to the moon for a quick cup of cappuccino.

“That’s my future,” I heard him mutter to himself.

And I realized that that’s what I had told myself watching Thunderbirds in the early 1970s. And still no flying cars.

We should get to work.

Because, as Doc Brown says, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

How does that make you feel?