Simpler Times

An Italian pastry shop from the past.

I've been swinging by the grocery store each morning before work to buy snacks. Fresh fruit, nut medleys, and a little something to have with my morning coffee.

Going there at this frequency made me think about how back in the day, this is what everyone did. You had to procure food often. I'm not talking about caveman stuff. You know, just the last couple centuries, when every shop was a Mom n Pop shop. Thinking about this stuff almost feels counterintuitive. I'm a science fiction writer, a technologist, a futurist. I can't be longing for nature and simplicity! A drone should bring my baby home from the hospital the way storks used to! I should have an app for everything, surrounded by gizmos and gadgets and doo-dads.

I guess that for the most part we are. I heard something funny on the radio a couple days ago while driving home for work, something like, "Has the information age gotten old?"

I'm a big fan of the world in which we live. I wouldn't ask to live during any era prior to the one in which I'm living now. The future, that's a different story. But the world has evolved so drastically over the last two or three decades, it's mind-numbing to think about.

So when I go to the grocery store in the morning to grab a pastry item and a fresh plum, I wonder to myself if I'm straying too far from the simpler things in life. Can I be a speculative fiction writer who wholeheartedly embraces the future, and still have the time and the heart to visit a country fair, or a farmer's market, or a campsite?

This may not even be just a sci fi writer's dilemma, as I'm sure plenty of non-writerly folks ask themselves the same questions, in this era of VR and AI and automation.

If you ask me, flying cars can zoom over my heard, a robot can make my latte, and my computer can talk to me like a person would, but I can still smile at my neighbor, grab a beer after a long day's work, and walk my dog after dusk.

The fusion of the future and human wholesomeness. Let's shoot for that.


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