Sometimes I am taken up by such a tornado of amazement and wonder that I land three states away, blinking and with two broken legs and only one shoe. Probably because I have a gentle and completely credulous nature which makes me believe you when you say that it was you in the big dance scene in Flashdance (true story, and I don’t want to talk about it). It’s never beautiful, mystical and sensitively spiritual things like dew drops on roses and the small and wondrous pink nose of a kitten that makes me contemplate the nature of a loving Universe and blows my hair back–no, what usually astonishes me and makes me wide-eyed with awe is when I am struck anew by how much in the future we are totally living.
It’s always the little things that get me. I am dutifully impressed and fascinated by monkeys controlling robots with their minds and the creepy-cool Large Hadron Collider, but it’s the daily evidence in our lives that while we may not be living in a future with personal jetpacks–yet—it’s still a goddamn amazing place filled with wonders and miracles no one could have imagined a century ago, a half a century ago, ten years ago. THE FUTURE!
Usually I go about my business here in the future as blithely and unconcernedly as anyone else does, taking it all for granted because that is what you do, if you are of my generation and later. But like everyone else does, usually of my generation, this weird set of kids (and we are so often still just kids) that somehow straddles the divide between the quaintness of the 80s and the brilliant flashing diamond of the millennial years, sometimes you have to stop and marvel at the marvels, and go wow. You know, that is just cool. I appreciate that I live here in the future, with access to hot and cold running water, adequate sanitation and access to sophisticated medical care. And also the internet.
Yesterday, it was two things, practically back to back, that made me stop and shake my head, and feel a little old and also grateful for penicillin and antilock brakes. I had to get my book manuscript into the hands of a reader, I don’t have a printer, they live all the way across the country. I uploaded the document to FedExKinkos , and this very morning, even as I type, they are printing it four blocks from her house and then they are going to deliver it right to her front door, in a box, bound with rubber bands, fresh and hot off the printer. And for some reason, it absolutely blows my mind. My file went from being here, electronic in Utah, to a hard copy in New York, delivered within a day. Maybe my astonishment is all hayseed yanked off a farm in the mountains and set loose in overalls, blinking up at the bright lights of the big city–boy howdy, that’s shiny! But I tell you–that’s brilliant.
And as I was uploading and marvelling over the futuristic convenience of on-demand printing and shipping, I looked at my twitter page, saw that a friend was stranded because his train was delayed by an oil refinery explosion along the tracks. I didn’t have my cell phone on me, so I emailed his phone instead and asked him if he needed a ride. We messaged back and forth while he was on the shuttle bus. “I think the driver is lost,” he wrote. But no, he doesn’t need a ride. “Holler if the bus driver starts heading towards Vegas ,” I write back. When we don’t hear from him for awhile, we check Google News, and see that the trains are running, if slowly, and he ought to be home soon with Arby’s bag in hand.
And okay, I want to jump up and down and yell oh my GOD do you REALIZE how many AMAZING things just HAPPENED in that SINGLE PARAGRAPH! Today a wonder we behold. These things are so commonplace and ordinary and I feel a little dopey when I get that urge to bounce around and take people by their sweet little chipmunk cheeks and look deep into their eyes and urge them with uncomfortable-for-everyone sincerity to say hallelujah, amen! I should just take everything for granted until we get ourjet packs that are guided by the minds of the monkeys who run the Large Hadron Collider . But probably tomorrow I will become speechless with wonder over the miracle of heated automobile seats and those sneakers with the little wheels inside.