Prompt: Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it.
Reading while the traffic whizzes ’round.
I remember seeing Minority Report as a young teen and despite the interesting moral questions posed by arresting people for crimes they’re about to commit, what stuck with me was the self-driving cars. While Tom Cruise jumped wildly from high-speed car to high-speed car, I was struck not with the danger of his situation, but with the convenience of being able to read or practice violin or sleep on a commute.
Perhaps if I had grown up in a city with subways or a bus system, I wouldn’t be so struck by the convenience of not having to concentrate on the road or worrying about getting into a car accident every morning during my commute. I grew up in the suburbs. Sidewalks were optional, no stores were within walking distance, and having a car as a teen was considered a status symbol. Driving everywhere was a way of life in the suburbs, and though I’ve moved closer to downtown as a young adult, the habit sticks. This town isn’t designed for walking, and its public transportation system is a complicated web of poorly-timed buses.
So instead, every morning, I climb into my car and navigate the winding, bustling streets to my job. It’s a 20-minute commute (assuming traffic is kind), short by the standards for many, but that’s 20 minutes of time that I lose each day. Sure, I can listen to the news and be horrified by what happens in the world outside of my protected bubble. I can listen to music and belt out songs people would never expect to hear coming from a short white girl’s car. I can listen to a book on tape, but even that I struggle to enjoy. There are too many distractions to pay attention to the words, to appreciate the prose and the character development. I’m too busy worrying about that SUV two inches from crossing the median, its driver distracted by a tiny glowing screen.
Now those self-driving cars from Minority Report are becoming a reality. It’s a slow process, one that’s already been in development for a decade, but each year companies come closer to releasing. Yes, a self-driving car will probably be well outside of my price range, and yes, I will stubbornly decline to buy a new car until the Honda I drive is rusted out and refuses to run. Still, someday I hope to see you all next to me, not driving through the winding, bustling streets.