‘Bob, what’s on your mind? You look puzzled.’
‘How do you see the community of the future Charlie?’
It was a question I wasn’t prepared for although I wanted to give the answer some consideration. After all, the past few months had been a roller coaster.
Until recently Bob had a steady, well-paid job in A.I., only to be laid off like many others due to Covid … and just now he wasn’t sure whether he wanted the old position back.
‘We all worry about livelihood, of course, the close family Charlie, if we listened to what the city folk tell us we’ll all be subservient cyborg drones in the not too distant. All driven by ‘bots.’
Bob had very nearly become a product of his own industry and I could see this worried my friend as we sat to discuss a series of short-stories driven on his past experiences …
‘Community very much depends on the calibre of the people for me Bob. Community is a result of close relations with those sharing similar beliefs, values. This is what I know.’
‘Agreed, but … what do you now see Charlie?‘
‘As it happens Bob, I ‘bumped into’ one of the near-neighbours at the local grocery this morning. I’d caught her fleeting glance as she looked up from the ‘news’ paper and routinely greeted the face with my brightest of muffled, masked ‘good mornings’ …
Not taking her eyes from the broadsheet she replied … ‘More bad news, poor kids in school, such a mess, hospitals underfunding, more restrictions and lock-down. When do we get our life back?
The next few minutes were spent discussing what was different for us, the people that we don’t see anymore, the change in routines – plus of course the lack of general freedom of movement. We ‘covered’ the doctors’ appointments online, shopping via google, self-drive vehicles, Christmas on-line and the life that was before … we both walked away moderately sated, happy for the opportunity to ‘rant.’
So, I see the time now is for making simple decisions Bob, we either follow the guidelines laid down to enable us control over the virus and so preserve communities as we know them – or we risk the rout of neighbourhoods and the new generation of non-conformance. What do you think?‘
‘Choices yes, but I see great opportunity, Charlie, a burgeoning free-thinking environment for the entrepreneur is rare. I’m excited about the future of stronger communities, those with common values and stronger ties all borne out of the challenges Covid has offered us all.‘
‘So, it’s not about getting the life back?‘
‘It’s about being patient Charlie, the landscape of the future will be different to ‘old life’ – I see the future as ‘old life with bells on,’ our collective community responsibility is to support and empower the new generation when embracing the opportunities coming our way, getting the new life back, in the very near future.’