“When I was a boy, people owned cars!”
“When I was a boy, we had a car! 2 cars actually!”. Then cars had their Kodak moment
It was a typical family dinner, 2040, and my son’s eyes widened. “2 cars! Were you rich?”, he asked.
“No, no, everyone had a car. Most had 2 — your grandma and grandpa had a car each”
“You must have been driving a lot!”
“Nope, we didn’t drive much at all.” It must’ve seemed really strange to him and his sister, they weren’t used to our old normal, and the inconvenience. I smiled as I saw them thinking it through. “Grandma took the train to work and Grandpa drove me to school and then to work. We used each car an hour a day!”
“Just an hour?” my daughter asked, a puzzled expression on her face. “What did it do for the rest of the time? Did you lend it to people?”
“No we just parked it — that means we left it on the street, or at the mall, but mostly we parked the car in our house, we had a room called a ‘garage’ just for the cars.”
“Wait, what?”, my son gasped. “You had a room just for the car, for 2 cars? Why did they need a room? And how’d they get in?”
“The game room in our house used to have a concrete floor, instead of tiles, and the big window was actually a huge door to the street. Instead of the grass and garden out the front we had a wide concrete path to the street just so we could drive the car in.”
Life had changed a lot, and cars were just part of it. “We still drove everywhere, like now. But if we were going to the movies we would take a car and park it as close as we could and then walk, which wasn’t always easy. Having your own car was a pain in the butt, but nobody realised.
“And remember your car couldn’t drive itself so it was a lot of work! Imagine if we all met Mum at the shops like we did yesterday — we’d drive separate cars, meet up, and then afterwards we’d have to walk back to our separate cars and drive them both home! And tonight when Mum got off the train after work I’d have had to drive to the station to get her, and drop her each morning, OR she’d have to drive herself and park somewhere near the station. Wherever you left your car, you had to go back to it in the same place when you wanted to use it.
And yet, most people thought shared cars wouldn’t work.
My son was confused “Isn’t it obvious that getting driven where you want when you want is really easy? I like skateboarding down to the shops and getting driven back!”
“People get used to things. And some people had a lot of fun driving — like playing a game on the road. Cars were noisy and smelled a bit but we thought they were pretty cool. People thought having their own car ready to go in their garage was easier. But once they started using the shared cars they really like them, and they were cheaper too. Some people kept using their old cars and still do — ask Yoda* about it” (Yoda, a recent Disney AI)
My kids were wide-eyed entranced. They’d seen petrol cars before at shows, and cars that needed drivers.
They couldn’t imagine so many cars everywhere, parked everywhere, petrol, private, and driven by people.
Owning a car. Ancient history.
“What’s for dessert?”