My grandfather was born in 1893, and served in World War I in France. He carried a small pocket diary with him, though notations in it were scant on detail. However, one thing that stood out was a comment he made about the work he was doing. He was part of the Ambulance service, and thus drove an ambulance in the field, carrying wounded away from the fighting line to the medical facilities.
He remarked how the men were being taught to drive the cars because most of them did not know how to do so.
Sep 10, 1917 – Had some more excellent training for ambulance driving – worked as a stevedor unloading ammunition – as yet I have learned about everything except the handling of a Ford car.
Sep 22, 1917 – After months of waiting our cars are at last definitely assigned to us. Now for making drivers of our men.
Oct 7, 1917 – Cars run fine except that hobnails left by many soldiers in the road have caused many punctures – largely because the tires are not heavy enough to stand the work.
Oct 13, 1917 – … This sector in the Argonne woods is known as a sector of rest. Thank heavens for us as we are expected to drive Fiats which most of us never handled before.
It makes you wonder how much of what we take for granted today will be unknown in the future. And, even more, what do we not even imagine today that will be commonplace in years ahead? Most of us, at least in the United States, give little thought to driving a car. When you are old enough, you get a license and training, and then spend much of your life behind the wheel of a vehicle.
But even in that, we are already starting to see a change. Traffic has become so bad in so many places, that more and more people are looking to mass transit options like commuter trains. While owning a car has been a much desired goal for many years, more and more people are content not to deal with the expense and just use ride services or public transit. What will tomorrow bring? Will having a pilot’s license become as commonplace as driver’s licenses currently are?
In the 1960s, when the original Star Trek aired on television, phones were wired into the wall. They were big and clunky. So to see people in the future using small, handheld devices to communicate over long distances was “science fiction”. Only, in 2017, it’s not. Though largely replaced by smart phones, remember that one common iteration of the cell phone was the flip-phone. You flipped it open to make your calls – just like they did with their communicators on Star Trek.
Driving, indoor plumbing, refrigeration – many generations passed without those things, and gave little thought to it. What in our lives will be gone in 20 years, replaced by something “better”?
It does give you pause. My grandfather went from horse and buggy days to the space age in his lifetime. What will we see over the course of ours?