The Scotty App

Question of the day from WordPress daily blog ideas: When teleportation is finally possible, where will you beam yourself first? (Yes, you can assume you’d be able to teleport yourself back. It’d be a teleportation app for your phone of course, which you’d keep in your pocket).

Wouldn’t that be cool?. Think of the possibilities! No traffic—no traffic lights, or road rage, or traffic tickets. For me, that would be 30 more minutes added to my private life at each end of my day – I would have an additional hour every day to fritter away; to write, to read, to workout, to talk to friends and maybe family.

Imagine, for a moment, a world without baggage claim! Or long security lines for domestic flights. No TSA gropers. The disappearance of cranky flight attendants. I suppose, to beam internationally, you would still have to deal with ports of entry and customs. Unless we were in a world with no countries… I’ve heard that isn’t hard to do…

I am, of course, making the rash assumption that this would work without the aid of fossil fuels. Solar powered transporters. The worldwide reduction of carbon footprints.  How was Scotty’s powered?  There would have to be a radical shift in technology, education, and employment. What kind of maintenance does a transporter need? Is a Scottish accent a prerequisite? Do you have to have a license? World economics would have to adapt. Would you have to register your transporter with DMV annually? There would, of course, be property tax involved.

I have no problem seeing this added to my cell phone, because, well, everything is. I have a Sprint Evo. And it does everything.  It’s my phone, personal message system (email, text, twitter & facebook), thumb drive, watch, meteorologist, calculator, video and still camera (8 megapixels!), photo album, planner, address book, alarm clock, flashlight (seriously! Your phone has to have a flash to make this work. If you are going to add one app to your phone this year, make it a flashlight.), scrabble board, GPS. If I want to, I can use it as a checkbook register, TV (it even has an HDMI plug), radio, MP3 player, barcode reader, internet. Hell, it even has the Kindle software which conveniently syncs with all of my other Kindle enabled devises—so I can have the Oxford Dictionary and a complete Shakespeare available at all times (English teacher here—this is important stuff). With one touch to the screen, I can have the universe at my fingertips. I can even ask it a question and it will scour Google for a response for me.

And it all fits in my pocket. It already has the ability to triangulate my position (which unlike Johnny5, I can’t do), so it seems a logical thing.

Beam me up, Scotty. Or home, or to work, or to the pub, or museum…

There will be peevish folk who balk at such technological changes. There always are. And their arguments are, and will remain, at least at some level, valid. As people become more technology dependent, they (we) lose a great deal of the sensuality of the planet. And we are sensory beings. Teleporting from point A to point B means you miss the journey. There will be no roses to stop and smell along the way.

If I were to beam to, say, the west coast of Ireland. The roses I would miss would be…after months of preparation, the hour long ride on flat, sometimes congested highway edged with pines and the occasional oak. At 65mph, I can’t really distinguish or appreciate them anyway. And if I’m traveling slower than that, I’m very focused on the traffic around me, because something must be wrong. I need to be at the airport two hours before my flight, so I fret about slower traffic. I would miss the fume-filled, closed-in parking at the airport, dragging my luggage through the frazzled crowd, up and down stairs, having it weighed and inspected, TSA checkpoints, stressed-out people all in a hurry. There would be the flight from Richmond to DC, a run through another airport to connect to another flight on another carrier. I would be worried about my luggage making it to the right plane.

Seven hours hanging in the air. Nothing to see or do.

No roses.

Customs at Shannon, baggage claim, car rental. By the time I arrive at the quaint, wonderful B&B in Bunratty, all I’m good for is a drink and a nap. I might have a vague awareness of a peat fire burning somewhere in the distance, an aroma that in my exhaustion I may or may not identify. And contemplating the wonder and majesty of Mother Earth as seen in The Burren, or on the Cliffs of Moher would have to wait until I am quite recovered. The stairs at Thoor Ballylee would seem arduous, perhaps not worth it to see the view that inspired Yeats. I would need wind against my face and the sound of the ocean and crashing waves at Spanish Point to reconnect to the planet.

To meditate.

To know.

But in Scotty’s world, with my Scotty App, I will take my electric, solar-powered car, to the closest transporter (cost will make personal ownership prohibitive for a long time). It’s probably in Midlothian. I would have my everything-phone triangulate the coordinates (so I can get home), tell the technician/engineer (Scotty was an engineer, right?) my destination, step onto the pad and be there.  Sure, sure, I’ll need electric transport to move locally…

It could be a Saturday outing. A drive out toward Poulnabrone, to build my own little dolman. A hike up the stairs and walkway at the Cliffs, pausing to chat with the gypsies hawking their wares. Perhaps buying a penny whistle or wrap, an Irish knit sweeter. Then gazing out over the waves and connecting to some genetic memory that fills me with both wonder and knowing that this, more than any place, is where I abide in my soul; reigniting the magic that is Irishness; at one with land and sky and sea. Then dinner at a pub in Milltown Malbay, surrounded by cousins and kinsmen…

Return to the transporter, They’d have one in Miltown Malbay, or maybe in Ennis. And home by midnight.

So, to the peevish naysayers, such technology will be slow in becoming universal. But one day, like the cell phone you once likely balked at, transporters will be ubiquitous. The journey will changes, but the roses will smell infinitely  sweeter…