Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Future Museum

Published in Strays.

I was in New York, or maybe it was New Jersey because I could see the city off in the far distance. This was a new National September 11 Memorial & Museum. In my mind the phrase “hypothetical” was repeated over and over. It was a hypothetical memorial museum. Instead of being a location, a building, with relics, memorabilia, and a gift shop (built on a mass grave), this museum was nothing but technology. The museum was what we saw, not what was there.

From my position I saw an airplane crash off in the distance. Not into the Twin Towers, but into a smaller building. Still a catastrophe, and a tragedy, but one with fewer victims. But that crash didn’t really happen. It was something of a hologram. Perhaps I was wearing an Oculus Rift, but the sensation, the sounds, and the feel was far more intense and realistic than any virtual experience seems to offer. Another plane came directly at me. Both of these vessels were off by a few degrees, their trajectories altered from those that really took place to represent how skilled those pilots were. If the manual calculations were off by even a little, the story would have been different. This second plane crashed less than a hundred feet in front of me, quickly passing right by me in a fiery skid. Again, the sensation was real. This was the future museum. I was actually experiencing what could have been, and what never was, all to better understand what really happened.