1.21 Gigawatts! What would Marty McFly do in the 2020 lockdown?
Is it me? Or have the past couple of weeks felt like you were in some surreal version of Back to the Future? Maybe it’s just 80’s nostalgia kicking in? Let’s face it, that is a powerful emotion at the best of times, when faced with uncertainty we all look for the things that we know. Maybe it’s aspirational, hoping that there IS a DeLorean parked around the corner, ready to take you back in time, find Doc Emmett and inspire him to produce a cure or use the flux capacitor to realign future events, stopping this pandemic from ever happening and rebuilding daily life as we knew it?
Marty’s journey back to 1955 blew his mind, his father was the victim, his genius being socially ridiculed by bullyboy Biff, his mother was enjoying life – young, free and without a care in the world - children never experience their parents in their social prime, this is why! Marty’s future was fading fast. Right now, we’re all on a journey that’s every bit as mind blowing. Life has changed beyond all recognition and we’re learning new skills and recognising the power of ones we have either lost or neglected for a long time.
Thankfully we’re not looking for a massive lightening bolt and 88 m.p.h to get us back. Our challenge is much simpler – stay inside, keep socially distant. Which should be easy, right? We’ve spent hundreds of years and millions of hours (and in some cases pounds) refining our homes to be everything we need. But the reality is that it’s much harder, it cuts to the heart of our human values – socialisation, we’re pack animals, each person used to having our own personal liberty.
Technology has never been more accessible. Take your phone - what this one device can do is amazing, Doc Brown would have been impressed (pretty sure Marty took a video call in one of the films). We’re now using tools such as Zoom for daily chats with friends and family - if you’d asked people what this was a month ago at least 50% had never heard of it, let alone considered using it socially, now it’s our go to communication channel.
The consumption of data has skyrocketed as we all watch more TV, boxsets, films, YouTube and TikTok. The internet has come into its own, allowing life as we knew it to continue – food shopping, if you can get a slot – which if you’ve played the online shopping roulette recently, you’ll know it’s easier to predict the end of social distancing then it is to get a delivery slot. That aside, we can still get pretty much anything we need delivered to our door through the joys of the web and that is amazing.
There are things that are utterly timeless and cool no matter what the situation. The Skateboard is one such item. It was Marty’s main mode of transport in the 80’s, it was his makeshift get away when he was back in 1955. The films sequels predicted hover boards - still one of the most coveted items in many people’s tech-gadget garage. But it’s the original skateboard that rules supreme, it’s been with us forever (since the 1950’s and to this day, no-one knows who invented the concept), the design has evolved very subtly, creating a cultural icon that has, and always will be cool.
Of course you can't mention the hover board without including the Nike self lacing trainers which have themselves become iconic as well.
Marty and Doc created the ultimate partnership, working together they solved all kinds of problems and did unthinkable things. Today’s heroes are facing a far scarier task. They’re tackling an invisible predator every day, they are literally hands on, saving lives.
The NHS is a super power, a marvel and so much more. The compassion and courage of the people within it, simply amazing. But it’s not just the frontline health services that are going the extra mile, food retailers, delivery drivers and thousands of others that support and service these businesses are working hard towards a common goal – beating COVID-19 and we thank you all.
Back to reality
We all know the outcome of the film, Marty and Doc make it back and there then follows two more movies/adventures. What will our future look like? We’re creating a new normal right now, adapting to social distancing, working from home, home schooling and much more. Having had the time to reflect during lockdown, having seen the fragility of so many aspects of life I’d like to think that we will all be a bit more grateful, show more kindness and compassion for our fellow man and woman.
I’m sure that many aspects of life will return to being ‘normal’, but I’m hopeful that we’ve collectively learnt a lot about ourselves, realising our actions and the actions of others have far reaching affects that impact everyone and everything, including our planet. Here’s to the future, to people power.