“Change Of The Times”

Objective: Write from the perspective of someone witnessing the unveiling or testing of something new and life-changing! This can be a technological advancement, the enforcement of a new unexpected law, anything that would change how people live their lives whether it’s a big or small change.

We never seem content with the technology that we have. There was a time when the single shot muskets were considered revolutionary but these days it isn’t worth s**t if it requires both hands and doesn’t fire at least sixty rounds a minute.

Surely there’s someone out there who would prefer the traditional musket but they sure as hell aren’t going to parade around with it when they go to war.

It’s the same for me with transport. I preferred the good old days of the classic ‘car.’ Sure, it was a huge chunk of metal that we sat inside but they were simple and effective.
We had roads that navigated where we should travel and in what direction.  It wasn’t always as efficient as you’d hope – after all, almost everyone was using one at the same time – but even in it’s failings it had comforts.

You could travel yet still sit out of the rain, there were heating and air conditioning facilities, you could play music or just socialize with your family and friends who were travelling with you. It doesn’t sound like much but the way things have changed, that social outlet has been all but forgotten.

The day they showed off the hoverboard didn’t seem all that important. It was a fun, quirky little thing, sure, but nobody would actually buy one seriously! At least, that’s what I thought.

Then they started making them faster but safer, more efficient, cleaner for the environment. The second they got cheaper, everyone was buying one.

Yes, even me. I was astounded by the technology. We were practically flying! Sure, it was only a few inches of the ground but they added a design that stopped it from ever crashing. They’d implemented some kind of forcefield that encompassed not only the board, but the rider. You could see it there like some kind of blue transparent bubble that acted like a magnet against another magnet. Suddenly, transport accidents were non-existent.

Some people still drive cars but it’s not feasible anymore. There’s no jobs left for car mechanics so if you can’t fix it yourself, you’re screwed. On the bright side, there’s a pretty big surplus of leftover parts so maintenance is cheaper than ever. They don’t even consider the old parts worth melting down.

Part of me wishes I’d kept my car. Thinking on it like this makes me yearn for the chance to drive my wife and two daughters out for a camping trip. Nowadays if we want to go camping we all have our own board. The journey’s quicker but it’s silent. Then again, the girls are a older now so I doubt they’d be up for a camping trip with boring old mum and dad anyway.

Sitting with my wife now in front of the TV, – that timeless creation that never goes away – I feel a little anxious. We’re watching a live presentation by Stephen Employ, the CEO of the company responsible for the hoverboard. If he has something to show off then chances are I’ll have something brand new that I need to buy the girls.

“Ladies and gentlemen…” He begins. “The future is here!”
“He always says that.” I mutter.
“Shh.” My wife hushes me. As much as I love her, she’s that one older woman who’s constantly chasing the new generation of technology. Never mind the girls, the wife is the one who’ll want whatever this is first.
“Since the dawn of the hoverboard, gas emissions have decreased almost ninety seven percent from the age of land transportation.” Mister Employ says. “The invention of the wheel is no longer regarded as highly as it once was, for we have taken to the skies!”

The crowd there roar up in applause and my wife is sitting there, nodding to herself excitedly. As for me, I hate the build up to these things. I’m a no-nonsense guy, I’d prefer to just know what his point is. Employ raises his hands up and the crowd starts to die down.  

“But…We can still do better.” he says once everyone has fallen silent. “It has been my personal goal for years to continue creating environment friendly methods of transportation so that the damage done to this planet by our predecessors can finally begin to heal! A ninety seven percent decrease is phenomenal progress in pursuit of that goal but I did not begin this company seeking ninety seven percent…” He’s sounding emotional now but I know manipulation tactics when I see them. He’s just aiming to get the crowd riled. “…I began this company seeking the full one hundred percent, I’m seeking to rid this planet of gas emissions in it’s entirety!”

His tactics are working, he’s got the crowd cheering even louder now. He lets that one sit with them, lets them chant away, scream and shout like he’s some kind of rock God. The man’s ego doesn’t sit right with me but I can’t say much when half my life is spent using the stuff he makes.

“Well today ladies and gentlemen I have news…We’ve done it.”

A smoke machine goes off behind him and something raises out of the floor. Once the smoke settles I see it looks like some kind of shower cubicle. Without another word Mister Employ walks over to the thing. He slides open the front and steps inside it before closing it over again. A low humming sound emanates from it and suddenly there’s a flash of light.
People in the audience scream and turn away but me and my wife are leaning closer to the TV now. Did we really just see that?

Stephen Employ is now standing up close to the camera on the opposite end of the room, looking right at it like he can see the viewers at home. People in the audience around him are standing up, looking at him in awe.

“You’ve got to be f*****g kidding me!” I whisper. For once, my wife doesn’t chastise me for my profanity.

“I present to you…” Mister Employ says. “…The first working teleporter in history!”

The crowds cheer and my wife begins babbling away about it but I don’t hear her. I’m thinking back to that old car of mine. I’m thinking back to the days that transportation forced us to interact with our fellow man.

I’m also thinking that the next generation of cities probably won’t even have roads anymore.

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