Monday, January 04, 2010

Looking ahead

Soothsayers have long used crystal balls, tea leaves, ashes in the firepit.

But even though Harry Potter saw the face of Sirius in the fireplace, looking into the fire (especially when it’s 'the log’ on tv) isn’t one of the many methods of divination that I found.

Predictions are generally based on leaps from what is to what might be. The flying car juxtaposes the idea of the plane onto the automobile. Very few predictions anticipate something completely new. None of my predictions claim to be very new or even original, just ones I see as trends I think will pan into something more than they are now.


I don’t believe that the gap between rich and poor can continue growing the way it has – at least not without dire consequences. When the average CEO makes 174 times the average worker’s wage, revolt seems bound to occur. Sure, CEO's have big responsibilities, but that much bigger? Lots of workers have big responsibilities, ones involving more than looking after financial dividends – bus drivers, teachers, electricians, caterers...


In a similar vein, I can’t believe society will continue to endorse the kinds of wages given to film stars and athletes. Does someone who loves the game of golf as much as Tiger Woods (or at least as much as he once did) deserve that much compensation to spend his time out on the links?


Back in his first book, Generation X, Douglas Coupland proposed ‘Use jets while you can.’ Travel is going to become much more difficult – both because of carbon footprint concerns and because of increasing security measures. A recent newspaper cartoon pictured travellers passing through the screening arch, wearing nothing but a puzzled expression. If that came about, I’d want to stay home (and the security workers would probably appreciate it if I did).


The most worrisome resource concern won’t be oil or other fossil fuel, but water, the basis of life on this planet. My first inkling of this came when I lived in South Australia, the driest state in the driest country in the world. That’s where I learned to wash my car on the lawn, permitting the water to do double duty. The latest Christmas letter from a friend there said things had improved, that there’d been a bit of rain, but that car-washing was still restricted to the bucket method. I suspect meters will be required and that the 15-minute shower will be viewed as obscene, that it'll be a sin to flush when it's only pee. Even now, in places such as Mexico City, regulations aren’t enough to ensure secure supplies. Rain barrels, grey water collection - these ideas are sensible and will soon be commonplace.


The population bulge known as Boomers is approaching old age, and Alzheimer’s sounds as though it could be the next unofficial pandemic. The solution? Aside from legalizing euthanasia (which will likely happen too, though I hope it will be regulated very clearly), one can only wish that medication might be discovered. Aside from that (and a more likely solution) I believe we'll see more elders living in co-operative settings – small groups in great big houses or clusters of cabins – where peers can help each other and share the services of caregivers who will cook and help look after them.

Group meetings with physicians and other health care providers will also become more common. This would allow patients with similar symptoms (think, for example, people with fibromyalgia or diabetes) to spend more time with a professional, rather than their specified 10.2 minutes (or whatever the allotment might be). Besides, questions would likely overlap, so everyone would benefit from hearing the response. Support groups might also result from such encounters. Again, I see co-operative efforts as part of the answer.

Local Economy:

The economy? British Columbia could be well served by legalizing marijuana. According to many sources, it’s already a huge factor in the provincial economy.

Wouldn’t it make sense to tax and control it (like alcohol)? In truth, I’m surprised this didn’t happen back in the days following the LeDain Commission Report. And think how that might boost our not-so-hot tourism industry. Can you say 'Vansterdam'?


When it comes to fashion, I'm pretty much out on my own limb. My preferred garb, depending on the temp, is sweats or shorts with a hoodie or sweater and T-shirt. If the unisex coverall comes along, I'll want to sign up.

Technology/Personal Devices:

Smaller, faster, less expensive, with more and features. But there's no surprise in that. What will be different is that I think we're going to see these devices being surgically implanted -- a palm pilot becoming literally, a device in the palm of your hand. Finger tip or wrist implants to replace credit and debit cards. Cash? Wasn't that the name of some guy who did duets with Bob Dylan?


On an optimistic note, we seem to be becoming more honest. Maybe it's thanks to the group-mind of sites like FaceBook that let us join groups expressing outrage over political actions/inactions. So maybe there really is hope for change.

Whatever happens, it'll come about despite, not because of predictions. Still, it's fun to think about what might happen. Want to toss a thought or two into the mix?


Janet Vickers said...

Thank you Heidi. I like your predictions more than what runs through my head.

The question that comes to me all the time when I make them (silently on better days)is how can I act in a way to alleviate the despair we could so easily slip into.

daniela elza said...

thanks Heidi for the post.

all good points.

on the lighter side of things one thing I discovered while recycling in the first few days of the year was on the back of the georgia straight the horoscopes from dec. 3rd.

I had been working all month on my crow manuscript.
and here is this horoscope from a month ago beginning: "At the bottom of a nest, a small blue egg."

I do not take horoscopes seriously, but hey reading them a month later seems like a much better idea.

happy new year

hg said...

I like that horoscope -- and I hadn't realized the ones in the Straight were that poetic. Will there be a blue egg on the cover of the book with the crow poems?

daniela elza said...

Yes, it did catch me by surprise that line. Not sure yet what will be on the cover of the book.:-) First thing is first— find a publisher. I like the idea of the blue egg on the cover.
This is all new territory for me, not sure how much say i have in cover decisions:-).

hg said...

Right, Daniela. It probably depends on the publisher (though your work is good enough I'm sure you'll get a good one). Nothing wrong with visualizing though, is there. Or, wouldn't the original horoscope make a nice epigram as an opening to the book?

daniela elza said...

thank Heidi, for reminding me:

visualizing is just what i should be doing now. when i feel there is a vacuum to fill. (you know, the kind that forms after (you stop working on some big project), and you try to remember what else it is ) you used to do.:-)
thanks for your thoughts and trust and visualizing:-)