A family at the table before me is making a LEGO airplane (apparently Southwest gives them to children? I am envy!) and the entire airport just erupted into cheering over the USA World Cup football win. I wasn't watching the game--sitting in the wrong corner--but I could follow it by the moans and cheers of fellow passengers.
The whole airport went up when Donovan scored that goal. I liked it: it made me feel like America was becoming a citizen of the world. Soon we will join civilization, and have socialist healthcare, same-sex marriage, and soccer hooligans...
Well, I can dream.
A woman on my left is reading James Patterson, and the woman on my right is tapping away at a netbook. All nerds here...
You know, I kind of like the future. I'm terrified we're going to ruin it for everybody--and the more I listen to the news, the more inevitable that seems. Here I am, about to get on a giant gas-guzzling artificial bird and travel halfway across a continent for reasons of business and pleasure; my breakfast involved mangos and coffee and cereal shipped from god-knows-where; our attempt to replace our last imperial president with a more democratic process has resulted in the installation of a more charismatic and intelligent tyrant; we have always been at war in Afghanistan (we don't even go to war WITH places anymore, just in them); the industry in which I make my livelihood is struggling to adapt to a technological revolution as vast as the original revolution that spawned it (and loads of cheap bibles); We have wounded the planet and she is bleeding poison (and not just in the Gulf--look at the spills in Nigeria that the Western news media ignores...); and by the 30th, I have to have finished a story set in a post-oil future which involved my protagonist struggling to travel a mere few hundred miles.
Oh, my first-world problems.
Oh, hey. They're loading the plane. I can see my suitcase and guitar case from here.
Well, publishing and the world have been dying since time immemorial. I imagine they will be dying long after I am gone.
Still, it's hard to write stories with any hope in them at all when my cynicism has this deep a grip on me. The older I get, the less Butler's Xenogenesis looks like satire and the more it looks like an accurate representation of everything that's wrong with humanity.
It's a weird world.
Well, I'd better hurry, or I'll miss that plane.