FOR as long as I can remember – about a week – we've been taunted with futuristic cars.
Electric cars, flying cars, sleek, self-driving, tea-making cars. None of it comes to pass. Sure, there's sat nav, electronic windows and air conditioning: mere tinkering. Overall, little has changed, except the designs have become more uniform and boring.
Think about it. We live in the electronic age, where everything's meant to happen superfast. It's meant to be clean and invisible. Then think of your car. A mucky, mechanical heap of tin, with a dipstick for checking the oil, some kind of timing mechanism based on a glorified elastic band, and tyres made out of rubber. Rubber!
What does getting your car repaired entail? Oily rags, spanners, heavy lifting, shoving and yanking. What is this? The 20th century?
Why can't we have cars that fly aboot? Sure, it would be chaos. But it couldn't be any worse than Italy. Besides which, the damned things ought to be flying themselves, ducking and diving effortlessly.
The futuristic car is as elusive as these health cures with which we're also taunted. You know, the ones that are coming "in 10 years' time", but never do.
Even if the futuristic – the genuinely futuristic – car does arrive in 10 years' time, it won't be for the likes of you and me. We won't be able to afford it. The rusting, oily, rubbery, elasticky tripe of the current day already costs an arm and, if you have one about your person, a leg.
There's something funny going on with the lack of a futuristic car. Something to do with vested interests, continuing dependence on melted-down trees from ancient times (oil), and the fact that it could all be done a lot cheaper if we ran vehicles on crystals or chips (electronic, not deep-fried).
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