was visiting my parents about a week ago. This led to that led
to me backing up their car, and some strange observations…
you know the backup cameras on a car can offer a video of geese
in flight? Honestly, I didn’t either until that was exactly what
I was watching on the dashboard of the car. (And, you might need
a bit more information.)
had been running some errands, and my parents let me use their
car. Got back to the house, and after running a few things inside,
I decided to move the items that would be going with us later
between the trunks and back their car up to ours. Having to move
a grand total of about fifteen feet along the driveway, I left
the trunk open.
people… it’s a trunk open while backing up in a driveway, not
sending an 8-year-old down a ramp on bicycle without a helmet.
What it did mean was that the camera wasn’t in the normal positioning,
lining things up when the car was in reverse. It was instead about
90 to 110-degrees higher, showing the top edge of our car and
then up and off into the sky. (Cue passing geese.)
thing about certain products. Pretty much all the time, it’s hard
to be critical of them when they fail to do what they’re not expected
to do. As a silly, first example, when you return home from the
grocery store and spot a loose nail on one of the steps in the
garage, the loaf of bread or one of the eggs are not to blame
if you use them to pound it back into place and fail.
a similar pathway (but totally different tracks), it turns out
that we need to use products properly and in general within certain
operating scenarios. The simple summary here would be that a backup
camera works best when pointed along the route to be travelled.
though… I think we might be taking technology and such for granted.
We’re a bit spoiled and a bit naïve and over time becoming
ignorant to it all. We’re not even noticing it’s happening, with
misplaced frustrations when something goes wrong.
I was a kid, it was amazingly annoying to grab our family’s address
book any time I wanted to call a grandparent or friend. So, I
memorized the numbers. Today, if you took my cell phone away from
me, it would mean chaos. I guess I could still call my parents.
I know that number. But, I’m not sure I know where Terry and I
keep our address book. And even if I’m right and it is in that
drawer, I have no clue if any phone numbers are written down.
(Then I don’t know which ones have changed. Geez, this is a potential
nightmare. Fortunately, there are never any problems with my being
able to use my cell phone or get information from it. That’s a
I was in college, I could drive from driveway to dormitory without
looking at a sheet of paper or a map for reminders. I knew when
rest areas were nearing and which exits to use. Today, take away
my GPS and I would need hours of research to get the right directions
for the homes of several family members.
try something a bit less technical though. How about locking a
know someone that was driven absolutely batty when her kids got
their hands on her car keys for a few minutes. Some combination
of buttons was pressed, and the acknowledgement-beep sound was
disabled. You know the sound… press the lock button, head lights
flash, car gives a quick beep. (Admit it, some people you know…
possibly even you… also use that beep as a car locater in crowded
parking lots when the parking space has been forgotten. Back to
that friend with the kids…) So, the lights would flash, but the
car wouldn’t beep. She was trained by years of action-reaction
to click the button while walking away and let the beep tell her
the car was locked. She had no clue how to turn it back on.
person I know often leaves his car unlocked. Not intentionally.
He has one of those nifty in-the-vicinity BluFi WiTooth thingamajigs.
Far more often than he is comfortable admitting, by the time he
finishes his routine of grabbing his briefcase and the coffee
he had momentarily put on the roof, he ends up locking and then
unlocking his car before he turns to leave.
are other fun things we could joke about, or offer some wise observations
from experience, but the reality is simple enough. I come from
a day where, in my youth, you had two keys for the car. Now, people
have been trained to look for signals that the door is locked
other than using the handle.
not trying to make fun of cars or technology or even us. Instead,
I’m just trying to point out how numb we’ve become to things.
person I know got into someone else’s car after a few years of
driving his with a backup camera. The car he was sitting in didn’t
have one. (It was mine that didn’t have the camera, so yeah, I
know this was the result…)
put it in reverse, looked at the dashboard, and waited for an
image to come to life. He paused for a moment, no image appeared,
and he turned to me and said: “How do I see what’s behind me?”
geez… I don’t know… the mirrors? Maybe shuffle in your seat to
turn a bit and look out the windows?)
not about the safety of the scenario. For specifics, I certainly
understand why these cameras are so awesome, how they help, and
agree that they’re a great feature. I love my GPS and traffic
apps. Instead, I’m just wondering how we’ve reached a point where
any ability level for reading a map is less common than reading/writing/speaking
investigate items that distract us… and eating, cell phones, drinking
coffee, radios, DVD players and more all provide some levels of
distraction while driving. But then we miss how we’ve become almost
Pavlovian in our behaviors to virtually anything, to the point
where we almost can’t function in any way when a specific option
or stimulus is removed.
days indeed. (Wait for the beep.)