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Monday, May 08, 2006

Science fiction

James Howard Kunstler:
Riding the van out of the airport Friday night to the Park-and-Fly lot, with the planes floating down in the distant violet gloaming, an eerie recognition came over me that life today is as much like science fiction as it will ever get--at least as far ahead as I can see. Some of my friends' kids may never fly in airplanes. They may never own cars. At some point twenty, thirty years ahead, they may not take for granted throwing a light switch in a dark room.
Strangely enough, I had a very similar thought yesterday. Enjoying a picture-perfect May day in Michigan, I stepped outside. I heard the loud roar of jet engines and looked up. I saw a couple of airliner contrails way up there; that couldn't be it. Then I saw a single-engine prop plane chugging along--disconcerting. Finally, coming up behind the prop plane I saw the two military jets buzzing along at great speed. Fortunately, they were actually well above the prop plane and had no evil intentions towards it. And I thought, wow, this is like science fiction--not really much different from those levitating trains in the Star Wars movies. I was thinking, too, that in a few years, if I heard a plane in the sky, there wouldn't likely be any confusion as to which plane it was. Furthermore, I thought how lucky I was that I'm not in one of those places where the sound of military jets doesn't mean imminent death and destruction--places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza. Unfortunately, I am in the place where those planes come from.