The Faux Hoverboard

There’s a new threat on campus for Boston College students. Whether it’s walking in between classes, jogging to campus from the reservoir, or simply sitting outside enjoying the weather, BC’s campus is no longer safe. The safety of the students is threatened by a new mode of transportation. The mini segways that have arrived are dangerous for all—in the literal sense, and in the metaphoric. They are a testament to how lazy our generation has become. How we’re not looking to work anymore—we’re just looking to glide. And, instead of embracing our struggle, we’re opting for the path of least resistance—even if least resistance is lazy.

The name people use to refer to the vehicle isn’t accurate at all, it’s irksome. It rolls on the ground—it doesn’t float in the air. Stop calling it a “hoverboard.” The thing lacks any practical use. It can only move slightly faster than a walking pace. It cannot navigate curbs. It runs on battery, and therefore is subject to dying in the middle of the day. It cannot possibly handle New England winter weather. What’s the point of investing in the segway if it’s not even going to be all that useful?

Simply walking place to place seems like an infinitely better alternative. You get to your destination at about the same speed, curbs aren’t an issue, and you don’t have to worry about face planting due to an exhausted battery. Besides that, biking, skateboarding, scootering: almost anything seems like a healthier, and quicker alternative.

Excluding the negative practical aspects of these two-wheelers, we also run into the issue of what they say about our generation. The image that is portrayed by using these things instead of walking is not a positive one. How far are we willing to go to support our lazy tendencies? It’s ridiculous that people are willing to spend around $300 in order to avoid the minor physical taxation resultant of walking, biking, or boarding. The stereotypical rant about our generation is that we don’t know how to work and put forth effort in order to get what we want. Older generations frequently comment about how “in their time” they had to put time and dedication into what they aimed for. In comparison to our day, the implication is that everything is handed to us. We don’t have to break a sweat to progress in life. As obnoxious as these comments may be, summarizing all our accomplishments as half-heartedly achieved, how can we deny them when we partake in products like the mini-segways?

Using these two-wheelers as a substitute for walking is certainly a concern, as the question becomes: Where will things end? How do we know if we’ll ever be able to satisfy our craving for being lazy? The “hoverboard” alludes to meaningless, apathetic lives—lives in which little is actually felt.

If engineers develop a machine that can carry us to the top of a mountain, we miss out on so much. We won’t take in the small beautiful things on the trip up—the birds singing, or the trees rustling. We will be too busy getting from point A to B to acknowledge what is happening around us. The rewarding sensation of hiking the trail ourselves will no longer exist. We can’t continue to develop interventions that reduce the way in which we experience life. If we wish to live a vibrant life, we have to be the ones to live it. We have to be the ones that refuse to embrace inventions that do our living for us.

Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Graphics