And the Wind Smells of Petroleum

Once upon a time, things seemed so much more hopeful. Full of wistful memories and warm feelings.

I just wish that had been true. But I am older now, and I know better. I stare out at the world at night, feeling the warming wind of late spring. And everything looks so coldly mechanical. You can smell the petroleum in the air, not leaves or rain or grass. Just the scents of civilization going the way of 1984. A little late, here in 2018, but it found its way into our world and finally settled in.

We were all so blind. I wonder why that was? Humanity ran manically toward the world that is. So happy, so sure it was perfect, and all around us signs of corruption in the shiny new things. So many bright sparklies. And we kept giving up more of our time, working more, living less, just to have that large screen TV and all the gadgets and toys.

We kept having kids, but we had no time for them. And so when the internet arrived, everybody began living two lives. The one in the real world where we were working, struggling to find time to eat, and falling exhausted into our beds at night. And the internet, where we just wanted to be entertained. Just wanted sit and forget about the life that was becoming more and more meaningless. We typed to strangers, and made fragile ties and called them more meaningful than anything we had outside the led boxes. And sat in rooms with our families, not talking, just looking at our cell phones.

We stopped going to places without internet access because the connection with the people living in our gadgets had become like an I.V. It kept us, hydrated human. Take it away and we dehydrate and die.

I donít know how it happened. I remember the slide. But the new generation knows nothing else. We watch stories about family units on the Tele because weíre starving for connection. But no one knows how to talk to anyone real anymore, without checking our texts every few minutes.

Our homes grow smaller. Because there is no need for extra chairs for visitors.

And the wind smells of petroleum.

And sadly, as much as I wish my rose-colored memories of the past were true. If they had been truly, better times, we would not have created this cable and wireless world to escape it.

We live days, working enough to get home and play the newest game online. We work to look at cats on Facebook. We work to spend hours texting our invisible friends.

In the beginning, I remember thinking that the internet was such a Godsend to house-bound folk. People living in wheelchairs, or too sick to leave their homes and go outside to find people. Now? Itís trapped us all. We canít go outside without our talking boxes. Itís become an addiction. And now we are more comfortable with invisible friends than real people.

Where will it go from here? Sex dolls that walk and talk, with imitation brains that think programmed thoughts to keep us company? That provide all we need so that we donít have to go outside to find people? Comfortable, fake people that wonít bug us when we wonít get off the computer, and who will bring us food and drink and sex, so we can get it easy and not waste valuable internet time?

Real people get mad, real people make demands and are work. Real people are a bother. In the future, we wonít have to bother with them at all.

And the light fades.  Humanity grows cold, alone, but satisfied with its computer dreams. Eyes filled with imitation worlds, as it sinks into the eternal sleep.

And the wind smells of petroleum.

May 1st, 2018  -- Teresa Challender

Contact: terisuewood  at  yahoo dot com