When I was a kid, I always woke up on Saturday mornings and watched The Jetsons. I was so excited because I just knew in 1999 we would have flying jet cars, I’d be able to pop over to the moon for lunch and everything like that. But I’m gonna tell you something, science ain’t quite there.
I was listening to an article about people talking about the Pandemic. It went something like this:
“Do you think science or science fiction prepared us for the Pandemic?”
Laughter. Lots of laughter.
“Science aint prepared us for shit.”
I’m paraphrasing, but you get it.
Back to the future and how someone owes me a flying jet car.
When I watched The Jetsons, I’d be so consumed with food that comes in pill shapes. The Boom-erack-a-cycle garbage disposal. How no one was scared to be living so high up in the sky, yet there were still walkways on the ground. Don’t even get me to talking about how they could take tubes everywhere. (As a kid, no problem. I think I weighed a whole 80 pounds, but now, you’d best grease that tube up! My ass would cause an entire traffic jam, then have the audacity to be claustrophobic on top of it all!)
One day, I became “woke”-as the kids say now. I thought, “Wait, ain’t a single black person on this damn show. What happened?”
We don’t make it. America worked us to the bone and now ain’t no black folks on the Jetsons. Damn.
Well, there’s always William Gibson and cyberpunk.
I found this article where it talks about where is the best place to get ideas for cyberpunk. He said something along the lines of artists and criminals and emergent technologies. I thought that was pretty interesting. Apparently, they have no social conventions placed on them, so their minds can wander pretty freely.
I’d imagine talking to some guys in prison, before they get out, and asking them what do they think the world would look like? What do they think would have changed in the world?
One night, I was talking to my mother and I asked her, “Did you ever think you’d be watching tv on a small phone in your hand?”
This is the woman that told me her grandmother’s house had an outhouse. An outhouse. Her siblings needed to move it to different parts of the yard before they used it. Imagine having to pee and waking up your brothers and sister like, “I don’t wanna pee in a bucket. I gotta take a dump. Y’all help me move this outhouse.”
Nary a word like that should ever leave these precious lips.
In short, my mother said, “No.”
I also think that children are the best to ask about the future, because outside of unicorns, they’d really have some great ideas. Think Harry Potter-ish. Of course, my niece is hitting teenager years and I’m so sure she’d say, “Auntie Tracy, really? Really? I just need to know if No Doubt is getting back together.”
Now, think about where you can get ideas about the future. You know, you could even ask your elders, like grandparents. My grandmother told me a story about how she had to sit in the back of the covered wagon and count a bushel of eggs.
“Do you know how many eggs are in a bushel? A lot of eggs.” She laughed.
I imagined her riding in this Amish looking kinda buggy, with a seat in the front and her in the back, counting eggs. Which I think her grandmother made her do as an exercise in futility, to keep her from coming into the fabric store with her. Yes, my grandmother was riding with her grandmother to buy fabric to make quilts. That was a real long time ago. I’m thinking early 1900’s. Then, of course, my father’s mother (paternal grandma) would tell us about living in the Depression and eating “cardboard covered with ketchup” for dinner. For dinner.
I gag thinking about chickens laying eggs and not trying to think of eggs as the turds of chicken or honey as bee shit. It’s true.
Where am I going with this? Maybe, some day, you want to write about the future. People do all this research, when there are valuable sources around you. Sources that you can ask for advice. Stop overthinking shit! All writers do. I know you do it.
In the mean time, I’d like to introduce you to The Jetson’s new neighbor, Leroy. Peace.