The funniest thing happened today. It seems I paid myself a visit, from the future. Somehow, a time machine was constructed that defied all laws of physics and who’s knocking at my door? It was I, only in a semi-geriatric state. I was 65 years old. One thing I did think was, ‘I’m glad I used sunblock and exfoliated every day after the age of 30.’
Over a cup of fair trade coffee, I chatted with myself about the future and lamented with myself, the past. I reminisced about vinyl records when I was a kid, how Anne Murray used to sing Teddy Bear’s Picnic over my one speaker, every night. The Mini-Pops played a huge role in my fashion sense and taught me the oldies in a ‘cool’ way. I had my Mini-Pops record framed for my 40th birthday.
We moved on to cassettes in my preteens and I was bribed to go to the dentist’s appointment in lieu of Madonna’s True Blue cassette. Of course I accepted these conditions, likely to have a root canal. Sometimes the cassette ribbons would get stuck in the machines so these, instead of trying to fix them, I used as shiny, black streamer for my Barbie house. Consequently, in the year 2041, Barbie has been banned from society, even the holographic version of her, as she was sued for false advertising, by The World, in 2023.
By the time high school came around, CDs were the latest rage. I was a little behind the times, living in a small, Northern Ontario town, but I managed to collect a beefy library by the time I graduated. CDs were great, except when they skipped. For a while, we had to keep making ‘mix tapes’ on actual cassette tapes until burnable CDs came out.
The internet opened up an umbrella of possibilities, in the realm of music. Technology started progressing so quickly that we began bending sound waves to our liking through various computer programs. Veritably, one can take a person who’s tone deaf and manipulate their voice into perfect pitch. Practically any sound can be manipulated into something else and producers began diving deeper and deeper into how mathematical and precise they could make their sound. The industry is saturated and music making has become so simple for those who choose to learn, at this time.
Moving forward, when my kids graduate with their Masters from University, many analog instruments are considered antique and binary sound waves became industry standard. The bent sounds and manipulated waves. Many of the old, analog players have given up out of their own stubbornness not to convert to the digital world. Secretly though, I mentioned to myself that likely they used the sound recognition programs in their closet beat labs and had their computers translate it into binary and released it under an alter ego’s name. I was always one for conspiracy theories.
As I was leaving, the one thing I left as advice to myself was not to take the analog world for granted, the real world. The future holds even more technological advances that we can dream of and, apparently, certain sounds have become extinct, much like some of the animals of today. Society started bending sound so much that it went beyond the point of no return. Certain sounds exploded during the tests that were performed and other sounds became like genetically modified noises that mutated each time they were processed through a machine. Binary codes overloaded the city-sized servers and a type of technological physics took over. Much like humans cannot teleport today, there were so many codes perpetually being transported though the earth’s systems and satellites that when they’d reached their destination, they were spit out incorrectly, their ‘atoms’ ( 1s and 0s) reassembled, all askew.
As I shut the door, I tried to imagine how my voice would sound if its binary code was rearranged, if it’d even be a voice. I didn’t have time to answer all my questions about the future but maybe it’s better that way. Just mentally time travelling from where I’d started to scraping the tip of the iceberg of possibilities in the future, it left my head spinning, which apparently is another thing the newborns can actually do, in 2041.
The whole experience left my head spinning. Never become apathetic in the manipulation of sound, respect the analog side of things, appreciate the ‘now’ and anticipate the future by respecting the past. I think that’s what Future Me was trying to convey to Present Me but I may have had jetlag from travelling back 30 years… who knows?