Back to the Future was a classic. The original came out the year I was born. I remembered watching it when I was still in elementary school, and I can still recall scenes as if the movie were playing in front of me. What I find interesting about it now is how many of the inventions it featured that I take for granted that I once thought ridiculous and unlikely to happen.
Take, for instance, video phones. Watching the movie in the early ’90s, I recall thinking to myself how unlikely it would be for me to ever get my hands on a videophone. It just looked like the rich people had them instead of telephones, and even at that age, I couldn’t imagine myself living in the lap of luxury. That, and I thought videophones were so far off that I’d be old before that happened. Clearly, I’m not old, and I’m not in the lap of luxury.
Even in an episode of Friends, Monica’s rich boyfriend owned a videophone, something none of the regular characters could even fathom owning. It proved entertaining to see everyone pretending not to be at the house when the boyfriend called since a videophone shows so much more than just a regular telephone.
While in both accounts, the videophone screens took up a large portion of the wall in the living room of a house, computers are the route we’ve actually taken.
Several evenings in the past week, I have found myself using the video chat function on Google chat, not even thinking about it. Using programs like Skype, I have sat and chatted with friends who are in time zones several miles away, on other continents, who are just waking up as I’m talking with them before bed, and it’s as if we’re in the same city. I’ve had tours of my friend’s flat in London, meeting all of the co-dwellers in her apartment before I’d had my morning shower. (Talk about an embarrassing first impression!) I even helped a friend rearrange her apartment over 2,000 miles away.
We video chat, and nothing phases us. We record our faces and upload them to YouTube without a thought otherwise about who else will see us. We take for granted the things that have allowed us to better communicate since we were children, and we ought to look back and be thankful for the things that have brought us to where we are and the relationships this has allowed.