Ollie's modern life
This month, Ollie Peart tosses in his pod, craving human contact
Monday 10 December 2018
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I’ve seen the future, and it’s worrisome. The other week in another line of work, I was whisked off to test two things: a pod hotel in Rotterdam and an inflatable travel onesie. If you don’t know what any of those are, let me explain.
A pod hotel is essentially one of those Japanese ‘morgue’ style hotels that salary men jump into after a night on the piss. It’s a pod to get dressed in, scratch your arse and have a sleep.
A onesie is the wearable version of the pod hotel and is perhaps the most disgusting garment in the history of mankind. A jumper sewn to some trousers that you can jump in and zip up because you’re either too stupid to dress yourself or you’re so lazy you’re 60 beats away from your 15th cardiac arrest.
The onesie I was testing was actually a travel onesie, an attempt to have everything you might need when travelling long distances be right there, where you need them. In principal this is a great idea; a built-in pillow, removable pockets for travel paraphernalia and an arse flap for having a dump. The idea is that you can zip yourself up, your own wearable bubble to watch Netflix, listen to music or swipe through Tinder.
I arrived at the pod hotel – a place where you are assigned a wristband that gives you humanless access to coffee, booze and food – and ventured up to my pod, an app-connected double bed encased in a giant Tetris-style ‘L’.
I climbed up onto the bed and it hit me: this… this is the future.
Think about it. Everything is being designed to save us the agony of communicating with one another on a face-to-face basis. Self-service checkouts have somehow infiltrated their way into our everyday lives, and we barely noticed. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all digital manifestations that do the same thing, distract us from the real world, but when our real world no longer becomes ‘real’ then what the fuck are we supposed to do?
You’ve seen that Pixar movie Wall-E right? It’s about a little robot whose only job is to clear up all the shit we left on planet Earth while we hover about in deep space. Powered by the sun, he roams around picking up bits here and bits there, the aim being to complete the job so we can all come home and start growing plants again.
The whole time he’s doing that, we’ve spent generations in space being waited on by other robots, whisked about on floating chairs while wearing onesies, communicating with each other exclusively through screens.
When I saw that film for the first time, I remember thinking ‘well that’s stupid, we’ll be long extinct before we get to that point’ but as I’m sat up in my very own pod, wearing a onesie and staring at a screen, the only thing standing in the way of me and that reality is a floating chair and a lovely robot bin man.
How the hell did we get here? What forces have driven us to this point where we are working every minute of every day just to fulfil some weird fantasy of doing nothing? We weren’t born to do nothing, and now the existence of certain technology is not only encouraging us to do less, but is actively inhibiting us from doing anything at all.
Messaging apps for work distract us from family time, social apps stop us from getting out and enjoying life, connected devices allow people to leave their pets locked in a room, communicating with them through a screen, dating apps remove the surprise of meeting someone new. We’re losing touch. And fast.
The onesie and the pod are our protective barriers from this future, pixel lit hell-holes where we can forever forget that we are living in a real world, with real things and real people. Why face that fact though when you could slip into a cocoon and forget it all.
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