Year of the BADYEAR Blimp

July 16, 2008

A spectral figure interrupted my usual early morning insomnia.

“Come with me,” it whispered quietly enough so it didn’t wake my wife as she made her little “poofing” noises in her sleep.

The ghost crooked a finger at me and I felt myself drawn into the air and following the figure into the clouds. Like my guide, I had turned into an insubstantial specter.

“Who are you?” I bleated.

“I am the ghost of coming attractions,” he muttered to me in a low, croaking voice. As we emerged from the clouds I saw a highway far below, running alongside the ocean. As we descended, I saw a long, low bus, moving very slowly indeed.

“What is that?” I asked.

“That’s the HOVS lane,” the ghost replied. Noting the puzzlement on my face, the ghost explained, “High Occupancy Very Slow Lane.” By now I could see that all the passengers on the bus were pedaling.

Noting my continued puzzlement, he said, “Here in the future, there’s not much gasoline. Most people use ‘MVSHT—Mass Very Slow HybridTransit.”

Something struck me as odd about the outside of the bus. Parts of it seemed chipped…or splintered.

“What’s it made of?” I asked. “Plastic? After all, if people are pedaling, it must be very light.”

“Yes, it’s very light. But it’s not plastic…plastic is a petroleum product. The bus is made of balsa wood and particle board. It’s pretty flimsy, but most vehicles are not going very fast and when they collide, most of the danger comes from getting splinters.”

As I looked above, I noticed air traffic: gliders, hot air balloons, and yes, a blimp, bearing the sign, “BADYEAR” emblazoned along its side.

As I looked over the ocean, I saw quite a few sailboats moving across the water as well as galleys powered by people rowing. I also noticed quite a few odd-looking structures sticking out of the water. “What are those?” I asked.

“SUVs” the specter answered. “They’re used now as reefs for fish farming. People need all the food they can get these days.”

As we spoke, I could see a town appearing as we rushed through the sky. At the edge of the town, I saw a sign, bearing the information, “Not Welcome to HOSTILE, Washington. Population: None of Your Business. Keep moving; we are armed; please use town by-pass. No vacancies, no restrooms no food. (No shoes, either).” I saw many gardens and fields within the town, patrolled by armed guards carrying both firearms and crossbows, some wearing swords and machetes as well.

Suddenly, I found myself back in my bed. Had I dreamed my visit to the future? I heard a ghostly voice calling to me through the haze, “You probably won’t live long enough to see this future. Sorry you will miss the show.”

11 Responses to “Year of the BADYEAR Blimp”

  1. Pete Says:

    Woah! Tell Mrs. Random to back off the garlic in your dinner! It’s messing with your sleep!

  2. vroni1208 Says:

    That was incredibly disturbing, and accurate! I saw a guy on tv who flew to work in this little contraption that looked like a glider and a fan boat had mated! It won’t be long before we’ve got air collisions on the freeway!

  3. modestypress Says:

    Mrs Random’s taste in movies runs to “chick flicks.” She works out at the gym and inside her tiny frame she knows she’s really Linda Hamilton in Terminator and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens just waiting to kick some…

    bunny and gray squirrel’s behinds and step on a few slugs.

    The other day, she said to me, “What was the name of the character Sigourney played in the Alien movies? Ripley?

    She continued, “I’m putting up a sign by our front gate…Ripley’s Farm.

    We’ll see how I sleep once she starts serving chipmunk stew. Of course, first I need to learn how to skin them, and clean them for her. I thought my junior high education was deficient, but now I’m learning what I really missed out on.

  4. spectrum2 Says:

    What about RG? What about her future? I don’t like this dream.

  5. modestypress Says:

    I don’t know what the future holds.

    One vision that many people have is that it will be just like what we have except a little more so. That’s possible. We will put humans on Mars in a decade. Our cell phones will be implanted in our brains. Gay marriage will begin to be accepted. Computers will communicate with us by speech. New countries will be formed. New products will be sold. New art forms will be developed.

    The other vision is much gloomier. Energy and food will be harder to come by. (As in my dream.) People will retreat to little enclaves, and perhaps terrible wars will be fought and plagues spread.

    My wife and I recently updated our wills. I thought about putting a provision in it for RG to be sent to study martial arts with my niece (who teaches it in Maine). However, I think it’s a mistake to try and control the future for our children and grandchildren. My daughter and her partner are RG’s mommies and we try to be respectful and helpful. She visits us on the island and we hug her and kiss her. She learns that vegetables come out of the ground in our garden dirt, and apples come from our tree branches. She will learn that chicken meat comes from chickens that have to be killed. She already knows that food doesn’t grow in a supermarket.

    Mommy said that she plans to send RG to some martial arts training. She is thinking of it as a program where she will learn respect and self-control (which I think is fine), and if she learns something about defending herself, which I suspect she will need in the world that will come about us, then that may be what she needs as well. If RG inherits our land and cherishes it, that will be great. If her mommies sell it, that’s fine.

    Throughout human history the best of times and the worst of times were always crouching before us. All we can do is the best we can do and hope that the best will come.

  6. David Says:

    Yeah, I have this dream too. Only worse.

  7. pandemonic Says:

    Humorous in a way. Sad in a way. Very disturbing in a way.

    There is room in my backyard for a bomb shelter. I’m considering it.

  8. truce Says:

    Move over George Orwell.

    Seriously though, I think there are worse things than going ‘back’ to a state where everything had to be done at a slower pace. Bring back the horse and cart and the sailing ship, that’s what I say.

    Not so much with the cross-bows and machetes, however.

  9. modestypress Says:

    I suspect you don’t get the simpler life and the slower pace without the cross-bows and the machetes. Otherwise, the Amish would have conquered the world already.

  10. […]  When I wrote an earlier scrap of blog science fiction, Spectrum wrote: […]

  11. […] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by elperroverde on 2008-11-04 Year of the BADYEAR Blimp – bookmarked by 2 members […]

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