In the year 2050
November 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
Jerry had to speedwalk a good thirty more minutes until he’d reach his school. He had gotten up late because the solar-powered alarm clock had been broken for a week now, and he didn’t have time to walk to the supply center for a replacement. He wished that he was a better runner. Running would cut all his travel time by more than half, but he could never manage to keep going for more than a few minutes, and then he’d get that familiar sharp pain on his lower right stomach from incorrect breathing. If only he could cut his travel time, his life would be much more efficient, he thought. At that moment it just occurred to him that he had a quiz in his history class. What was this past chapter about, again? Early 21st century, pre-EEE. Jerry had watched many movies both from and about the pre-Energy Efficiency Era, whence people had ‘cars’ for personal use and could spend all forms of energy and natural resources without thinking twice.
But that was all before 2020, the year of the Catastrophe. A devastating earthquake shook all continents of the globe, and it effectively destroyed the most crucial oil reserves on which we used to depend. The government has issued a ban on the use of all automobiles, and has limited use of cars, trucks, trains, and planes to only the most essential – mobilization of supplies and the military. Other sources of energy is wholly dedicated toward sustaining activities that used to depend on oil, hence the severe limit placed on use of hydro-electricity, coal, petroleum, and dry natural gas to carry out everyday tasks.
Jerry dreamed about flying a plane. He had never been on an airplane before, or a train, or a car. He wondered what it’d feel like to travel at 40+mph. Of course, he rode bikes before, but he did not own one. The prices of such vehicles went up due to demand, and Jerry’s family could not save up enough for a bike. Jerry wondered if the Army would ever pick him, out of the sea of men that all wanted the very opportunity he sought – a lifetime privilege of manning speedy, oil-guzzling machinery. The brightest, best students went on to serve in the Army, whose role had expanded ever since the Catastrophe in keeping the Americas in order. The majority of the population was employed in manual labor as people re-replaced the workforce since machines were no longer such a viable option. Jerry did not want to work at a factory, but this path was much more likely than the former. But he could dream.