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Imagine what ruins of Manteca homes would look like in 2039

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POSTED December 18, 2009 2:47 a.m.
Visiting places like Bodie – the fabled eastern Sierra mining ghost town that is now a state park – makes me a bit uneasy.

Not because I think such towns are haunted. Not in the least.

What gives me the willies is thinking tourists 130 years from now may be poking around current day Manteca homes in a historical preserve depicting how folks lived in the early 21st century.

Judging by the mumbling of tourists - especially those with heavy European accents - they thought the folks who lived in Bodie just 75 years ago were uncouth venom who didn’t know the first thing about keeping a house neat.

What did they expect? A Hollywood set? Bodie is a real ghost town ravaged by the elements. But then again, these people weren’t exactly rocket scientists. They flew halfway around the world and drove hundreds of miles by car – including the last three miles over a road more suited to pack mules – just to look at what a bunch of miners, hookers, merchants, and other assorted characters left behind in the middle of nowhere when the mines played out.

It’s a sobering thought to think how people would view the way you lived if your home was part of a ghost town in the future.

For starters, they might get the wrong impression that we lived in a walled city given the masonry block sound walls that may still be standing.

The mini-palaces they see – we called them McMansions – are close enough to each other that the 2039 tourists will wonder out loud if the ancient condiment known as Grey Poupon was passed from the window of one dwelling to the window of another dwelling during meal times.

With a little luck, the grass will have been reduced to patchy weeds sticking out of the sandy loam. That way you won’t have to worry about them making fun of all the yellow spots on the Bermuda infested lawn.

The view from the crumbled asphalt paths running between houses may leave them with the wrong impression the homes with windows broken, cabinets ripped out, copper wiring stripped, and general junk piled all around may have been restored to reflect the infamous Foreclosure Era that ran from 2007 to 2010.

 Once inside, they will be treated to exactly the way it was left during the Great Recession when Arnold Schwarzenegger served as governor of Cal-ee-for-nia. It was during the time the state was hemorrhaging financially and girlie-men represented the Democratic Party in Tax-ra-mento.

They will tabulate the vintage antiques – such as three flat screen TVs and  computers that were once hooked up to that Internet thing that a 20th century vice president took credit for inventing – and conclude Mantecans at the time must have hoarded things out of fear of a coming goods shortage. That would be reinforced by a parched contract for mini-storage rent that may have ended up getting tossed out of a desk drawer somehow over the years.

The dust accumulation might appear massive to those in the year 2039, but it will probably look no worse than going 11 months without dusting and vacuuming a home in Manteca circa 2009.

If they peek into the closets they will catch a glimpse of clothing colors that would have made fashion snobs in Paris laugh.

Out in the garage, they will marvel at the array of home exercise equipment. Some know-it-all little twerp in the tour group will probably tell his parents that he read in a history class that people of the early 21st century routinely bought weight benches and stationery bicycles to simply ease their guilt about not exercising. The mealy mouthed kid will probably snicker about how the inhabitants used exercise equipment to drape clothes over.

I wish I would be around to tell the smarty-pants that we did use the equipment. Whether it did any good is another issue.

If they venture out on to the patio, tourists will probably hear the din of non-stop yapping. They have no reason to feel frightened. It’ll just be the ghosts of all the neighborhood dogs who created the world’s largest urban manure pile in the front yard.

With a little luck, they might be able to spy an old city utility bill on the desk in the den and marvel at how Mantecans in the year 2009 forked over $1,200 a month to PG&E while living in a median priced Manteca home costing $1.99.

And, since tourists a century from are now more likely to be foreigners – the odds are some of them might even speak English.
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