Living in (Dystopian) America

If you make any sort of regular visit to this page, then you’ll know that I am a fan of science fiction. And within the genre of sci-fi you’ll find the ever popular Dystopian fiction. Now, dystopian novels are very popular in our culture. Ready Player One, The Handmaiden’s Tale or the Hunger Games are all examples of dystopian works that, obviously, are popular.

I have no idea why. I can’t explain why I enjoy these works and I won’t pretend to try to explain that for others, but I enjoy the genre and I’m not alone.

But it is one thing to read it and another thing to live it. This hit me recently like a sack of bricks. Periodically, throughout this pandemic/quarantine, my kids have wanted to go to a particular county park where their favorite playground can be found. The playground is now open so this past week we went there. It was about 11am in the morning, on a Tuesday in July. After being there for about 30 minutes I realized what was bothering me: the sound of the birds.  4 of our 5 kids were playing all in on the playground and I could still hear the birds. And we were alone. With the exception of the occasional senior citizen passing us by on a trail (with a mask on) there was no one around. It was the first time we’d ever been to the playground without another family present. It was empty. The park was empty. There was no one around. It felt completely dystopian.

A world without the sound of children at a playground. Perhaps the prequel to Children of Men? Who knows what the side effects of this disease will be.

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