Hello reader. Nick Hilbourn here. Like you, I'm a concerned driver. Like you, I abide by federal rules and regulations on the road when it doesn't interfere with my own personal freedom and liberty. Like you, I wrote a Marxist interpretation of the New York State Department's Driver's Handbook for my senior thesis (pending approval). Like you, I'm also highly upset by all the new stop signs they put up in town. It seems there's one at every intersection.
Let me be honest: I've been out of the driving game for a while.
My license was revoked in 2001 after seventeen attempts to ramp my 1996 Eagle Talon over the single gas pump at a Sunoco gas station down the street from my house. With each catastrophic collision with the gas pump, my parents endured thousands of dollars in fees and I received three points on my license (a lightened penalty thanks to Uncle Malcolm, the judge who yanked a few strings).
In the future, the police still stop you, but only to commend you. “Thank you so much,” they'll say, their hands quivering. In frustration over my failed attempts to clear the gas pump (and slight irritation over authority figures such as my step-dad oppressing me in their stereotypical bourgeoisie fashion), I ran my car directly into the gas pump. The collision triggered an explosion that engulfed the entire Sunoco station, causing millions of dollars in damage. I was unharmed as I had placed a brick upon the gas pedal and removed myself from the plastic death trap of my car before impact. But rest assured, the full iron phallus of the law penetrated the membrane of my childhood, as my license was suspended until I was 30 years old.
The time before I eviscerated the Sunoco gas station was a simpler time. There was probably one, maybe two stop signs in the Northeast. Over the entire country, I reckon there were no more than ten stop signs.
In the fifteen years since I exercised my natural masculine rage at oppressive moral authority, this great nation of mine has become fearful of itself. It places stop signs everywhere. Just yesterday, before I walked into my cousin's room to see if he had any extra money in his sock drawer, I noticed a stop sign over his door. I was stuck. On the one hand, I feared moving forward because I had only recently been able to reapply for a license. On the other hand, my cousin was busy playing outside with his friends and this would be my only chance to collect money toward a Sega Genesis I'd spied several weeks ago at the local flea market.
Long story short, a motion-activated surveillance system my cousin had installed on his MacBook Air alerted him via text message that I was in his room and my aunt kicked me out of the house and told me not to come back. Ever again.
Was I downtrodden? Yes, of course. It looked as if I would have to be an assistant swimming instructor with my mom again to earn the remaining eight dollars for the Sega. But out of the refuse of the world springs hope. Springs a vision.
Granted, things are not good right now for me, I thought to myself. But right now is the present. And in the future there will be no present. Only the future. It was a revelation. I immediately thought about all the amazing things that would happen in the future:
- My fantasy/science fiction novel will be published with an advance of $8,000,000.
- I will date and/or have sex with Vanna White.
- I will find my old pair of LA Gear and wear them to my high school class reunion next month.
- I will have enough money to buy a smart watch.
Now (I said to myself very therapeutically), think of what it will be like to drive in the future. Well, of course, it will be easier. For example, my insurance won't be $25,000 a month and, thereby, impossible to pay.
When you ask most people who work at Hot Topic and stand outside the mall smoking cigarettes at 2:30 in the afternoon about the future, they'll talk about”flying cars.”
Of course, we'll have flying cars. That's a given. But there's more to driving than cars. There's going to be a whole new driving etiquette.
Pop quiz, Hot Shot. Let me toss a scenario at you…
You've just woken up, doing 90 on the George Washington Bridge, and a frumpy faded blue Dodge Dakota is driving 85 in the express lane but you can't pass it because there are traffic jams in every lane to your left and the Hudson River to your right. But, because you fell asleep at the wheel after a 36-hour binge viewing of Quantum Leap as part of a blog series you and your friends are going to write at some point, you're crossing over your lane, heading straight for the Dakota.
In the present, things look bad. You'll probably hit the Dakota, your parents will get another letter in the mail, your mom will yell at you for ruining your uncle's truck…yadda, yadda, yadda.
But check this out: in the future, things will be completely different. Yes, you'll still hit the Dodge truck, but the accident will totally be on the person you hit. Reason will prevail as the judge finds in your favor. And not just the judge, but the driver of the Dakota will realize it as well. Moments after being rear-ended by you, her truck flips in the air, tumbles over the asphalt and slams into the railing, barely preventing her and her filthy excuse of a vehicle from diving head-first into the Hudson.
Moments after this, she'll be thinking, “Jesus, I feel so bad that guy had to hit me. Surely it wasn't his fault. He was trying his best, wasn't he? You know whose fault it is? It's my fault. I'm going to tell that to the judge and ask him to transfer all bills for the cap repair to me.”
Personal responsibility. In the future it gets real. People aren't going to skirt around the issue anymore.
How about another scenario?
Your hometown is small. 3,000 people at most. You're cruising through downtown on a Saturday around 10am at around 85 mph. There's a stop sign ahead of you. You not only run the stop sign, your blue Dodge Dakota obliterates it. You watch it sail through the air. The entire scene is enhanced by the fact that you have Alien Ant Farm playing at full volume.
In the present, you're arrested or something. They get you for running the stop sign and also for running the stop sign over. Weak.
In the future, the police still stop you, but only to commend you. “Thank you so much,” they'll say, their hands quivering, obviously uncomfortable with the volume at which AAF is pounding through your speakers. “We were just speaking about how there are too many stop signs in this town.”
One last thing that really gets me, and is completely a violation of my personal freedom and liberty, is this silly rule about not talking/playing/texting/watching a movie on your phone while driving. Now, they can just pull you over if they see you holding a cell phone. When I still drove regularly this happened to me.
I hear people on the news talk about profiling.
Well, here was profiling. (Although my uncle, of course, says that they pulled me over for leaving my trunk open.)
That's the present.
But, you know what? In the future it's not going to be like that.
Yes, cops will pull me over. They'll stagger up to my driver's side window, lean in, and there I'll be, reading the latest vlog post my friends and I made to our Quantum Leap and Marxist Studies online forum. He'll ask me about Marxism and what it means. I'll show him the Clif Notes of Capital I was reading on my Kindle while watching my vlog.
In the future, people like me will teach cops how to be respectful members of society. It's not impossible, dear reader. Just like John Lennon in that song said, “Imagine there's not stop lights, I wonder if you can.” Something like that.
So, here's to the future, reader. And here's to a vlog starting up. Really soon. Quantum Leap and Marxist Studies. A not-to-be-missed exploration of a revolutionary message behind one of the top TV shows of the 1980's. In the future, all cars will have this programmed into their dashboards.
Because you won't have to drive.
Robots will do it for you.
And when the robots make a driving faux pas, robot police will pull them over. And you and me? We won't be bothered. The cybernetic law enforcement will see us sipping our energy drinks, watching our shows, and writing our blogs. They'll say to their fellow robots, “C-725, we pulled you over for running a stop sign. But there are no stop signs anymore. Stop signs are extinct.”
Oh my God, I love thinking about the future! I can't wait to move out of my parents' house.