Future Shock (by sarah)
A cold frosty morning with delineated skies of faded ice cream colours, we look out over Gloucester with it's historical buildings as they puncture and frame the ancient landscape around them. The air is misty cool and I feel sick at the sight of a frost covered sleeping bag hidden in a corner, the occupant is alive and I sigh in relief, the air tastes of ozone and fumes and rotting food until it is all over lain by the sugar-fat smell of the doughnut van cooking their first batch of the day.
The progress of time marches on, we seem to have been stuck for a long time, at least ten years we failed to roll with the waves of advancement, we barely noticed them.
Before that we thought we'd march singing and triumphant into a future of virtual reality and medical advancement and the healing of our societies and nature. We are 80's childs though Alaric was born in the 70's - just.
When the mysterious x-box was sent to us for Christmas a couple of years ago and we found we could do physical games with it, we knew the future had arrived and we had somehow missed it.
We think on these things, we park our car... we plug it in.
We have FUTURE SHOCK.
When we drive we can plug in and charge our books, my friend charges her cigs. My mum is in hospital but she is alive, alive because of amazing medical advancements made in the last twenty years, made in my lifetime. My dad is the same, a hundred years ago he would have died in his early 30's, he turns 70 this year. I am alive, one of my children is a c-section babe, we walk paste the homeless on the way to dance classes and I swollow the bile that rises. The future is being good to us but it is rather too threaded through with cyber-punk dystopian chords than I would like. Our eldest complains that people live in apartments with all they could want and swimming pools on balconies that over look slums.... how could they?
I frown how different from that are we?
But we do stuff she insists. Yes we do, we don't know what others do or do not do. The Future is full of mental and moral pit falls I never saw coming, like Brexit... like finding myself on the side of the haves and seeing what it would do to the have nots and despairing as I knew which way they would vote and why and neither side would listen, dipolling themselves further.
The divide is growing. But uneven.
Sometimes it overwhelms me, all the thinks to think about, all the interconnect facets of our time and world and society. The environment, housing conditions, health, respect for others, not becoming an oppressor when you have been repressed but not slipping in the victim mentality, stopping cruelty, allowing freedom. Sometimes I can't process it all and I have to ignore it to function and do anything and that maybe selfish but if I don't then we can't do anything. When overwhelmed we can not organise fundraises or gather supplies for food banks or try and remember to shop ethically when we can afford to do so.
Adaption is key and not being judged for buying primarny when there is no time or money but looking nice is an imperative and the way our society works yes you do need to sometimes look nice... like job interviews etc... I am not saying that is right, but it is a reality.
We are lucky, having had times of not being lucky we are acutely aware of the contrast and how fragile that can be. Yes we've safe guarded ourselves this time - as much as we can - because we can. But we are more determined than ever to make a good future - the future maybe here but that doesn't mean we can't improve it and more importantly it is not here for everybody.
So we change what we can where we can, sometimes the difference is so minute we can not even appreciate it and sometimes it is for many and sometimes it is just a packet of sani pads sent to the food bank or a conversations with someone.
Sometimes it is saving up money to try and pay for surgery privately for a parent and not getting there before the nhs sorts them out and then having a deposit and luck to get a new car on lease, a car that will help the environment and our long term spending as it is cheaper to run. Sometimes it is then giving the other car, the old polluting the air car, to your parents because they no longer have a mobility car because... austerity and the damage it causes especially to older folk who drastically go down hill if they can't get out and about, ending up in hospital costing the tax payers more money than their mobility allowance ever cost.
To miss-quote Terry Pratchett - we can't make everything better but we will make the little bit we can see and touch as bettererererrrrr as we can. Granny Weatherwax says it better in The Shepherd's Crown.
It took us ages to work out how to unplug the damn car so you know the future is never going to be plain sailing.