Sign of the Times

A friend of mine mentioned that her daughter’s school is celebrating “Back to the Future” day. She went on to explain that today – October 21, 2015 – is the date that Marty McFly traveled to in “Back to the Future II”. Naturally, we reminisced on the movie and discussed what predictions actually came true, which ones were feasible, and which ones were absolutely absurd. Can you imagine the logistical nightmare if we had flying cars? Yikes! That would make Dallas traffic at its worst feel as seamless as breathing.

Although I haven’t seen this movie in a very long time, this conversation did remind me of a little piece that I wrote after watching “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” – a movie released two years prior to BTTF2.

And yes – I do realize that this post really doesn’t have much to do with career transition. Nonetheless, I do find it interesting how much technology has changed the way our society functions in general. Of course, this also includes how we search for and apply for jobs.

That said…here you go. Enjoy #TBT – a day early.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – How That Movie Would Look Today

Recently, I watched the 1987 movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” with my boys (ages 10 and 6). And, although some of the adult humor flew above their heads, they seemed to enjoy it. Throughout the movie, I found myself amused by how much traveling – and the way our society functions in general – has changed.

Let’s say that, hypothetically, some movie producer is hell bent on releasing a 30-year anniversary edition of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, here’s how it would need to be re-written to fit into today’s complex digital world:

  1. Neal Page would have no need to race Kevin Bacon’s character to the available cab; he’d just pull up Uber on his smartphone and order up his own personal driver.
  2. On the way to the airport (or perhaps even as he’s waiting for the meeting to end), he’d receive a call from the airline, notifying him of flight delays. If he was still at the office, he’d probably decide to stay and join his friend at happy hour until further notice. Then, he’d call his wife and give her a heads-up on the flight delay.
  3. Assuming he took a chance and decided to head to the airport – in hopes that his flight will take off on time or shortly thereafter – he’d immediately scan the digital kiosk for instant flight updates. No need to wait for an airport staffer to post the “Delayed” sign.
  4. Everyone on the aircraft looked like they were sitting in first class. I ain’t gonna lie – I salivated a little at the thought of having that much room to stretch out in coach. Today, we’re all packed in like one big happy sardine family.
  5. Once the plane diverted to Wichita Falls, Neal could quickly look up a place to stay on his smartphone, instead of standing in line, waiting to make a call from the payphone. In fact, with the right app, he could probably book a room in a few quick swipes.
  6. The vibrating bed at the Wichita Falls motel had me in stitches! As far as I’m concerned, the only coin-operated vibrating beds exist in 80s movies. I’ve never, ever seen one.
  7. I find it hard to believe that the train operator would make its passengers walk a mile and a half to the highway. But, maybe that’s a result of living in a cushy, microwave, app-for-absolutely-everything world.
  8. Neal shouldn’t need to walk all the way across the tarmac to the rental car area in the St. Louis airport, once he noticed his car missing. First of all, the rental car lot is typically situated in very close proximity to the office. A rental car employee would’ve been available in the parking lot to assist him. And, they would’ve been able to provide him with another vehicle right away. But I found the banter between Neal and the concierge – and the series of F-bombs – quite amusing (albeit feeling a bit embarrassed that I allowed my boys to watch that scene as well). Oops!
  9. Obviously, when their car caught on fire, Neal – or Del (even though he’s homeless and essentially broke) – would’ve called roadside assistance to pick them up.
  10. Neal’s wife and kids, theoretically, shouldn’t have been worried and wondering when – and if – he’d be home. Assuming he’s a devoted husband and father – or at least a decent human being – he would’ve kept them apprised of his whereabouts via his smartphone.

Ahhhh….sign of the times.


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