The book that I’m reading, Your Flying Car Awaits, is about the things people in the past expected to see in the 21st century.

I find this a very interesting topic, and have — well, since the beginning of the 21st century. I hadn’t seen 2001 until 2001, and it was fascinating to me to see phone booths and rampant sexism. The phone booths had video phones, which author Paul Milo says were predicted by everyone. The technology has been around for some time, of course, but people just don’t want to have to get dressed before answering the phone, so it has never caught on.

And that, in fact, is the central  message about futuristic ideas. There’s nothing to prevent our having electric cars, fantastic mass transportation, baby factories, and domed cities except that we don’t seem to want them. This may also be true of peace, equality, individualized education, and universal health care.

Flying cars are something else, along with instant robot-produced food in our kitchens, like the Jetsons. Market forces would probably be fine with those, but there are tech issues.

The other thing futurists always seem to be wrong about is spandex. There was widespread agreement that we’d all be in unisex spandex and rank-indicative tunics by now, but apart from the brief spell in the ’80s, we seem to have rejected that completely.

Possibly because aerobics and disco went out of fashion in the ’90s, while fast food became enormously popular.

I’ve lost three pounds so far this year, and my Wii balance board is all impressed by my persistence, but I’m far from wanting to put on spandex.

A flying car sounds pretty cool, though.