SF Profile #9: Tom and his partner in crime

I'm lucky in that my major form of public transportation is a rolling historic landmark. To get home from the gym, I take two different Cable Cars that are the descendants of the originals created in 1873.

Well, while waiting for my ride yesterday, I got a glimpse of two men who've probably seen the city evolve around those lines.

As I stood at the start of the California line staring at the news on my iPhone, I heard a shout: "Tom, Tom, where are we going?" I looked up to see two men who have seen quite a lot of things and probably done even more, one ten feet behind the other. They were slowly shuffling along as fast as they could, "Tom" leading the way. Both were dressed sharply. They also wore scowls appropriate to their wrinkles of experience. The man who was following looked as confused as the man in front looked resolute.

And so they made their way past me and toward the underground mass transit station. Tom decided, to my surprise, to take the stairs. His friend nearly did too until he realized at the last possible second that an obvious escalator was right next to the stairs. He shouted to Tom repeatedly to come back but finally gave up and backtracked a bit so he could take the effortless moving stair case.

Nearly all of the 20 people around me were transfixed by these gents and their possible adventure. My Cable Car pulled up and as I rode living history, I pondered the two old men now riding modern mass transit. What were they up to? In some less guarded part of my brain, I hope they were off to spend their last dollars on much younger women. Good luck Tom and friend. You've truly crystallized in my imagination that age is a state of mind.


Prediction: The future is making a comeback.

(Every now and again, I'll make a prediction. There's really no way to measure the success of these, but I think it's fun to put some thoughts down with a date next to them and see what happens.)

Now that we've been through the downward muck of this economy, I think optimism is going to make a bit of a comeback. Even if the economy stagnates a bit over the next few years. (Please note, I'm in no way predicting that the economy is done sucking, I just think the population in general has some downward spiral fatigue.)

With the return of optimism, I think we will also see a return of the future. If you used to read Popular Science or other such magazines during the 80's and 90's, you probably remember the artists' renditions of moon bases and flying cars. Cartoons had sky cities, people were trying to build hovercrafts in their backyards.

Now while the early 2000's have seen some incredible innovations, especially in the areas of technology and medicine, we haven't seen as many innovations in the physical world we all interact with. Yes there are new robots, but those robots went from waving to you in the 90's to climbing stairs or playing a trumpet today. Meh. Yes it's cool that I could watch Carolina play football on my computer this weekend. It would have been cooler if afterward I strapped on my jetpack and picked up some lunch across town.

So, my prediction is that the future will make a comeback. We might not see actual jetpacks, but we will start to see more visualization of innovation and futurism. Particularly in pop culture.