Print   |   Back
December 4, 2012
College Voices
Childhood Fantasies Today - by Tarron Lane
by College Voices
Tarron Lane
Freshman, Brigham Young University

The room was dark, except for a single cone of light.  It illuminated a simple black desk, with a scattering of papers and supplies.  A small amount of light filtered in through the window and cast shadows across the floor and wall. The aroma of hot chocolate floated throughout the room.

The sudden buzzing shattered the eerie silence. I straightened up from my work and peered at the phone, vibrating atop a stack of papers just outside the light. The screen flashed the name of the caller.  I set down my pen and smoothly slipped the phone off the stack and into my hand, flipping it open.  

As I brought it to my ear I leaned back out of the lamp-light and swiveled to face the window.  The lights of Provo glimmered in the night.

"Well, well, well," I chuckled, "Lost already?"

I scanned the blinking lights outside the window.  He was out there in the city, undoubtedly bundled up in his black overcoat just outside the reach of a street light.  It would be just dark enough to feel safe, but not dark enough to blend him completely into the shadows.

"As I said, it was only a matter of time," I continued, "Don't worry, I have the map."

I flipped open a sleek black laptop and quickly navigated to a bird's-eye view of the city. "What is your location?"

A couple of clicks and I had found the church building he was referring to.

"I see it.  You are right on course for the destination.  I assume you just turned off Canyon? Good. Now you say you are across Stadium Avenue from the Church? What you want to do is continue west along Stadium. Hmm, you should see a parking lot to your left. Excellent.  Now keep going until you reach University Avenue.  It should be the next cross-street."

I sipped from the steaming mug of hot chocolate as I dragged the map over to get to the next portion.

"Yes. Yes. No, you want to make sure you keep going west."

I zoomed in to get a better detailed layout of the landmarks.

"You are on the right road.  Do you see a field anywhere to the front-left? OK, well that means that you need to turn right.  That means now you should be going north. You see the apartment buildings? Yes, the ones on the west side of University. Head one-and-a-half blocks that way, and you're there.

I enjoyed a quick victory sip and leaned back to glance out the window again.  I pictured him cell-phone-to-ear, striding along, moving farther out into the city.

"Good.  Good.  I assume you can handle it from here? All right. Bye."

I flipped the phone shut, slid it back across the desk, and turned towards my work again.  The invasive light of the laptop screen flicked out as I closed it.  After picking up my pen and re-locating where I had been working, I hunched back into the lamplight.  Moments later the pen began scribbling furiously. The eerie yet comfortable silence re-ensued, broken only by the occasional shuffling of papers.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  Our generation has grown up right beside such amazing technological innovations as the cell phone and extensive online map systems.  Being in college has helped me to realize the great extent to which our generation gets to experience something truly phenomenal.  It's been happening to us so slowly that we don't even realize how amazing it is.

I grew up watching plenty of spy movies.  As a group of young boys, after finishing a particularly good episode or movie we'd all spend the next couple of days pretending to be the people in the movies.  Toys, rocks, and sticks became our arsenal of spy gadgets.  We had it all: infrared night vision, spy satellite up-links, even remote access to information from a far-off headquarters.

Our life now, especially in college surrounded countless like-minded peers, is almost straight from those childhood dreams.  We are all like CIA. special agents.  We carry small personal devices with an astonishing array of uses and applications, ready to whip them out at a moment's notice.  We can access information from the internet from wherever we'd like.  A simple laptop and Wi-Fi will give one access to ridiculously detailed (and sometimes even 3D) maps.

If I knew as a kid that even before my adult years I'd be able to remotely give my roommate directions from across a city, looking top-down at his location like looking from a satellite, I'd have never been able to contain my excitement.  

Our generation gets to fill a special spot in history.  We were able to dream up amazing and wonderful technological toys as kids, never suspecting that they were anything more, and then see the realization of those dreams before we even knew what was happening. As the newer generations grow up, they'll undoubtedly see the fulfillment of their "spy fantasies" as well, but the difference is that they'll expect their fantasies to come to life, because that's what has been happening.  

But we're special.  We got to be among the first.  I hope we can more fully come to appreciate the amazing technology around us.  Every time I think about it, I reclaim some of that childhood giddiness and awe.  And I love it.

Copyright © 2024 by College Voices Printed from