Thanksgiving In The Future: No Turkeys, Lots Of Pensioners, And Robot Cooks
Welcome to Thanksgiving In The Future, a festive look at how we'll be experiencing Turkey Day 50 years from now. We'll have to rechristen it Chicken Day, because climate change will have wiped out the planet's turkeys by then. And instead of car jams and snow flurries, you'll whiz through a "hyperloop" tunnel and make it to the (unseasonably warm) celebrations in good time. Plus, you won't need to Snapchat your friends shots of stuffing and cranberry sauce, because one wink will prompt your Google Glasses to broadcast a panoramic live feed out to everyone you've listed as "Close Friend."
Welcome to the last Thursday in November of 2063.
Relax — your robot staff is cooking.
It's Thursday afternoon, and you're standing on the doorstop of that aunt you've never really warmed to. She polishes her robot cook every morning, and it gleams brighter than any of your entire staff of cyber help, which annoys you. Sighing, you ring the doorbell.
Aunt Daenerys opens the door and greets you. On the couch, your hipster cousin (yes, they are still a thing, somehow) Tarogan is muttering commands into those weird blue-tinted smart-glasses he hasn't taken off since 2057. Beside him, Aunt Hermione and Uncle Tyrion are passive-aggressively examining one another's smartwatches (so yesterday).
"Hey," you say stiffly, presenting a bowl of gluten-free, wheat-free, carbohydrate-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, non-genetically-modified bread sauce.
Turkeys have gone extinct.
Now, you've never seen a turkey, because all farm animals have pretty much gone extinct. But you've seen that episode of that vintage show Friends where Monica wears one on her head, and don't get what all the nostalgia is about. Who would want to preserve an animal that looks like this?
There are a lot of old people, and almost no youngsters.
On the old-person-friendly ergonomic sofas next door, your twenty-two elderly relatives perch, grinning benignly. This lot tends to do their own thing, which as far as you can tell is ruminate for hours on the "good old days," when children played in the garden — the garden! What the eff is there to do there? — and everybody wrote on paper, not tablet screens. Whatever. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun to you. Since everybody in that room is expected to live to 115, the endless, endless storytelling shows no sign of ending, which depresses you.
Some of your friends have a niece or a nephew to be found at these things. You think you might quite like that: today's kids are better than ever at 3-D shoot-outs inside their virtual helmets, and you could get away from that ever-increasing group of older relatives. But everybody's living so long these days, and having so few kids, that you're denied all of that fun. Ugh.
You inhale alcohol, because drinking is so 2030.
When the robot cook finally gets around to serving dinner — your Aunt Daenerys spots you looking irritated, and promises to replace the cook's batteries — things start to look up. Uncle Edward raises his smartwatch, and everyone begins the sweet, sweet process of intoxication. Ever since the iEthanol app came out when you were 13, you just sniff your wrist at regular intervals and get all merrily, festively, drunk. (Your mother always sniffs too rapidly and winds up retreating for a nap mid-meal. She swears she was better with wine, but you never saw it and you don't really buy it.)
Your attention span is approaching zero.
The whole thing is pretty boring. The food's super bland, since all of the elderly don't have teeth — too much soda, they told you, the one time you asked — and everybody's allergic to something or other now, anyway. On your wrist, your friends say that the video feed of your Thanksgiving looks boring as hell, and you should retreat to an empty room to play some virtual paintball with them later.
Thank God, you think. Jeez, imagine if you didn't have the option to get out of here, which, actually, you've already done by adjusting a setting on your Glasses to "Beach Scenery." Thank God you have all these options. Thanksgivings for the past thousand years or so must have been so damn dull.
Image: Ruthanne Reid/Flickr