Originally published Nov. 12, 2012
We hear about the dangers of texting and driving all the time. I can totally understand why people do it though. Driving has become way too easy for us. We are quite frankly bored. It’s only natural that we would start searching for something else to do while driving. When cars become air-born we will have to start thinking about how to operate them again. In the meantime, my prediction is that…
It won’t be long before there will be mini-kitchens in cars. Why not turn that dashboard into a griddle so we can cook up an egg or two and a couple of strips of bacon while driving to work or maybe a hamburger on the way home. I can certainly handle a little grill action while waiting at a red light. Or if they are really too worried about that, just put a microwave where the glove box is. I mean who uses a glove box anymore? Gloves? Everything but gloves goes in there. It’s like the “junk” drawer in the kitchen, but for the car. The fact is, cars have become so automatic that it won’t be long before they can drive themselves. Which actually might be the best plan. Then people can text away all they like.
Back in the day, driving required a lot more thought and concentration. If you wanted to roll the window down, you had to use the hand roller to do it. It was almost like patting your head while rubbing your tummy. Your brain actually had to pay attention to move the steering wheel left to right while you turned the window crank from top to bottom. Need the side mirror adjusted? No buttons here. Step one: the window has to be rolled down and step 2: your hand goes out the window to try to crank it back into place. You might have to put a hold on the conversation in the car so you could git r done. Probably the car was a manual transmission too. Now those people really had to focus.
Despite what my kids think, I’m not actually so old that I rode in a wagon, I did have a real car when I was younger. I tried to find the one picture I have of it, but since it came out of a film camera it’s not in my hard drive so who knows where it is. I’ll just have to describe it instead.
The car I had in high school was really the ultimate in “you have to pay attention” to drive this car. For starters, the dashboard wasn’t properly attached so when I stepped on the gas it flew forward, requiring it to be pushed back into place where it would stay until the next red light or stop sign when it flew forward again. I don’t think I was gassing it that bad, but hey I was a teenager, so maybe. Additionally, the driver’s door wouldn’t stay shut. This meant I had to drive with my left hand and use my right hand to hold the door shut while I drove. I had to use my right hand because it was a heavy door and required a lot of force to be held in place. My left hand couldn’t exert enough pull being so close to the door. To complicate matters, the front seat flew backwards when I hit the gas. Now this wasn’t a bucket seat, it was one of the seats that was like a bench seat or something. So when it flew back, let me tell you, you had better hang on and try to sit back up straight because you had to put the dash back in place and try to keep the door from opening. Sometimes my foot came off the gas pedal when it all happened, which was probably a good thing. How could I possibly have texted anyone or even talked on the phone with all that going on?
I’m thinking they should start making cars like that again to get people back into the adventures of real driving and put their phones down.
Amazingly, I sold that car for a couple hundred dollars when I left for college. To a guy. He probably fixed everything.
The reason I started thinking about all this was because I found myself daydreaming at the first of about a billion red lights I will sit at today. Ho-hum! When will they come up with a little buzzer/light that goes off when the light turns green or red, one of my favorite ideas for an invention. I mean, really? Do they really expect us to continue to pay attention to these lights with our advanced intellectual capacity and overworked, multitasking minds? Despite its importance, I have a million things to think about besides when that light is going to turn green. When I snapped back to reality though and looked up, thankfully the light was still red, but the old lady in the rear view mirror, with her hands at 10 and 2, had barely blinked and was staring straight ahead at old red. She should have been first in line.
Which lead me to my next thought. Who pays better attention at a red light, the first driver or the second driver? Of course, everyone in line is relying on the leader to be paying attention. The worst is when you get honked at for the light turning green. If you get honked at in Minnesota it is really the ultimate in insults. Not only were you insulted but everyone around you just heard it too so they all know what an idiot you are as well. At least the light turned green so you can gas it and get out of there.
Well, I better go. I’m thinking my best plan is to go buy a lottery ticket so I can get a chauffeur to drive me around. Then I can finally operate my camera properly while being driven in the car. In the meantime…
“Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel”
as Jim Morrison said and have a great Monday!
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.