So the ipad is the first thing in a long time that elicited two responses from me: "we are living in the future!" and "I want one." But seeing all the cool things it can do --especially with e-readers (electronic books)-- has got me wondering about the way of the future. And what does all this have to do with Amsterdam? Well, see, Amsterdam has a lot of bikes.
A lot of bikes, I tell you. Everyone, everyone in the town travels by rickety, crankety old bicycle. The streets are sometimes literally filled with bicycles, and they own the road to such a degree that cars simply have to crawl along while bicycles buzz all around them like a swarm of bees. It's a sight to behold, especially because these cyclists aren't your dressed-in-racing-gear, helmet and superbad sunglasses type. They're more like this:
And this mode of transportation is so healthy, and clean, and the air flows through your hair and you wave to people as you pass by and your kid is munching an apple in their little bicycle compartment and life...just seems better. You know?
So I got feeling all regretful that big, belching cars have taken over the western world. And then I heard about how Obama is backing a high-speed rail plan in the US, and how some of the world's foremost bazillionaire investors are betting the farm that trains and other old-fashioned, more efficient travel methods are the way of the future. Maybe our infatuation with cars is wearing off? Maybe we will actually return to our old traveling ways? Could trains and bicycles actually be preferred in twenty years, or is this European model just impossible for places like the sprawling American West?
But what if over the next decade books become as unnecessary as CDs?! Like, things you'll probably keep around the house, but you're not really gonna bother digging it out when you can access the same thing with one click on your ipod or computer. I thought that would never, never happen to books but now.... it doesn't seem so impossible. I mean, history changes in tiny waves and in tidal waves. Is our book-buying soon to be a thing of the past?
In ten years maybe we'll all be pedaling happily along on our bikes, and rather than carrying bags of all our crap, all we'll have is our ipad, containing all the things we ever read, owned, wrote, planned, watched, or dreamed. And maybe we will be able to charge the ipad's battery simply from the kinetic energy we are producing. And maybe our book collection from all over the world will be obsolete, and take up a whole lotta space.