Reading old journals of mine makes me feel like I can tell the future. I've always kept journals, and pretty meticulous ones. When I read back on them and read about something and say now what's going to happen, like seeing a cute boy and wonder if he's going to talk to me ("he won't") or wondering if I'll ever get out of New Orleans ("you will") or thinking of a future that includes all of the friends I had at the time ("it won't").
But another interesting aspect of these old journals, which range from around 1st grade (1994-1995) to present, is the cultural stuff. Music and movies I loved and hated, the evolution of technology. Some of the journals, especially the really old ones, contain illustrations that I'm pretty sure only I can understand. Think of Charlie Kelly's dream journal from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and you'll get a feeling for what I'm talking about here.
I have one pretty long entry from around third grade, complete with illustrations, of this magical box I really wanted. This magical box:
- played music
- was a little TV
- had computer games
- went with me everywhere
What I envisioned was essentially a small cube with light glowing out of it that pretty much did whatever I wanted. I alluded to this magic box's impossibility in my journal, but I was so into the idea of having a little music player and TV and computer game thing that I totally bought into it anyway. Along with flying cars and jetpacks and all of that.
Fast forward less than 15 years and I have an iPhone. Which is everything I imagined my magical box to be, except more and better. I didn't really realize this until somewhat recently after re-reading an old journal and laughing at my naivety for thinking some sort of little magic box thing could exist. Until I realized that it does and I own one.
Like most things, since I followed along with technology, the magic box/iPhone didn't hit me because it was a natural progression. I didn't even notice that this crazy magical thing I thought up was real.
Which totally freaks me out in terms of the future. What will be here in 15 or 50 years. It shouldn't freak me out because my magical box dream came true and iPhones are great and awesome. But it makes me wonder what seemingly crazy or outlandish thing I could think of right now that would be embarrassingly far-fetched will be a real fucking thing not too far into the future.
It's like watching an old movie almost. Like Casablanca. Watching it now, it's a World War II movie (and romance and all that, but let's stick with this theme). And now, we (basically) know everything about World War II: what happened, towns that were destroyed, people who died, how it ended.
But Casablanca came out in late 1942, early 1943. When it premiered in New York in 1942, anyone could say "Pearl Harbor happened less than a year ago." Less than a year ago! Casablanca was a movie about World War II during World War II. The people in it, the people who made it, the people who watched it, didn't know what was going to happen. It wasn't a historical movie or a World War II movie. It was a movie.
It's just things like that that make the future and history and time very tangible to me. Tangible and overwhelming.