How Our Laziness Might Bring About a Revolution in Transportation

Star Trek.1

For members of my generation, the original series (in reruns) of
Star Trek gave us some of our most memorable images of amazing, futuristic technology.2 Faster than light space travel, amazing computer technology, long range communications, phasers, and of course, that budgetary miracle, the transporter.3

I realized the other day that the worst part of ordering a home delivered meal is the short bit of human interaction required when you have to get up and go to the door and get your food. This wasn’t always the case. It used to be that the worst thing about ordering food was having to call the restaurant. There’s nothing worse than calling some place and being put on hold, then having to ask about specials4, placing your order, repeating your order, and then hanging up knowing that they probably got the order wrong.

Thankfully, this has been largely circumvented by the use of on-line ordering, first via computer
5 and now via app. Due to advances in technology, we no longer have to worry about talking to an actual person on the telephone.

In fact, the history of fast food can be primarily seen as the co-opting of technology to promote our laziness and anti-social tendencies. In ye olden days, there were very few restaurants that would deliver food to your door. Your options were limited to pizza or Chinese food, or if you were very lucky, a near-by deli. Now you can get just about any food delivered anywhere thanks to various food delivery services. You can even satisfy your craving for Mickey D’s via Uber Eats.

Before delivery, one had to leave the house, get in the car, and hit the drive-thru. Talk about the inconvenience! There was even a time before fast-food where one had to physically walk into the building and eat there amidst other diners, interacting with various members of the wait staff.
6

Fortunately we are blessed to live in a time without all of that horrible person to person contact has been widely diminished. Now all we have to do is open the door for the pizza dude.

Still, that seems like too much.

Hence the transporter.

I firmly believe that one day, hopefully one day soon, some brilliant scientist will work out the Goldbergian bugs associated with transportation technology.
7 Hell, they may have already figured it out, but are being forced to keep the tech a secret by the airlines and the car manufacturers.9 Then we will be able to vacation any number of places without losing our valuable PTO days to travel time. Commutes will be a breeze. Traffic tie ups will be a thing of the past.

And then some brilliant entrepreneur will apply the invention to the delivery of fast food. Keep your jet packs and your flying cars. I just want a pizza without having to get my fat ass off of the couch and put pants on to talk to someone for three minutes.


For The Record: I realize that I could have also gone with replicator technology, but I felt that was more applicable to home cooking. Plus, I thought all of this up last week while waiting for my pizza delivery, not while I was waiting for a pizza I made to finish up in the oven.

1 Yeah, this is going to be tangentially related to
Star Trek. Deal with it.

2 Other than the images we visualized when reading the greats of the science fiction genre, but I’m building up to something here, so bear with me.

3 Because showing shuttles going down to planets every episode would be prohibitively costly. Look it up.

4 You don’t care about the specials. You’re going to get the same thing you always get. Your wife, however, wants to know what the specials are. She’ll still get the same thing that she always gets, but she wants you to go through the hell of finding out and transmitting the data to her first.

5 Thank goodness Al Gore invented the internet.

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7 Yes, that’s a Fly reference.
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8 Yes, I know I could have gone with a Vincent Price reference.

9 Like that car that runs on water, man.