It's 2013: Where's my flying car?

Lesley Toth
Lesley Toth

Well, we made it folks. It’s 2013, and despite that some thought it would be the end of the world, it turns out it was nothing more than a spatial limitation on an ancient Myan calendar.

I have to admit, as a child of the 80s, the 2000s were a far-off distant future filled with technological advances, space travel, robots and more. Now, more than a decade in, the 2000s aren’t that much different from the 90s.

Few differences exist, but they seem only cosmetic. Cell phones are now attached to every ear, TVs have become much leaner and easier to move, and cars can travel a whopping 10 extra miles on that gallon of gas. But the scientific advances I dreamed of as a little, geeky, sci-fi fan haven’t materialized.

I want my hologram! Where’s my flying car? Who’s in charge of inventing the energizer of my beloved “Star Trek” shows that instantly transport humans and their gear from the planet back to the ship? You’re seriously slacking, pal.

Sure, we have Skype that semi-instantaneously sends video imaging to our loved ones and friends on the other end. But video chat capabilities have a long ways to go before I can swipe my hand through a 3D hologram image of the caller in an awe-inspired moment of technological bliss.

Private flight companies are beginning to take root, but I have yet to amass the $1.5 million necessary to secure my seat on the next SpaceX flight, and I want to fly to the grocery store, not Jupiter. While Google may have developed the first self-driving car, I’m holding out for the later model — and it had better feature thrusters (are you listening, CEO Larry Page?).

Apple has Siri, but she’s a far cry from Hal. Hollywood’s version of the greatest artificial mind manages to take over an entire space station and hold two humans hostage in order to prevent them from “killing” him. One evening taking questions from our children and Siri was an AI mess, quickly reduced to just a phone minus the “i” and repeatedly responding, “I am sorry, I do not have an answer for that.”

Don’t even get me started on robots. Rosie was an outdated model, but the Jetsons would have never traded her for a newer version. Even at 45-years-old (a robotic relic), this classic metal lady had the kids’ breakfast done, rooms cleaned and lunches packed before Jane was even finished fixing her hair. I sincerely thought we’d have robots before I was ever in the position to herd children off to school. Sorry, but those $500-$700 self-navigating vacuum cleaners that constantly become stuck on a table or chair leg ain’t got nothing on Rosie. Besides, what good is a household robot if it can’t make snarky comments to your husband as she washes his underpants?

Yes, the genius physicists at CERN have managed to transport a neutrino at faster-than-light speeds. But I can’t pack my beach gear, leisure books and six pairs of shoes in a tiny little neutrino, now can I fellas? Come on already! Those extra baggage fees airlines charge are getting out of hand.

It’s 2013, and while I can store 8,000 novels on my Kindle Fire, I can’t hop in a tube in Duluth and hop out in Minneapolis 12 minutes later. It’s 2013 and while bath salts are turning people into zombies, we still haven’t discovered a way to turn people into X-Men. (I really wanted to be the weather wielding mutant, Storm, when I grew up.) It’s 2013 and while we may have found water on Mars, we still haven’t found the wormhole/dimensional gate that will take us to other galaxies inhabited by quirky but friendly aliens.

I’m willing to hold out a little longer for my scientific fantasies to come true ­— maybe 2020 or so. But I better not have to sit on a stack of phone books to see over the steering wheel of my flying car.