Smarter than me

Lori over at Sunny Side Up posted a piece this morning about parallel parking.  She can’t do it.  Me, I can do it pretty well; I just can’t spell it without spell check.

And it made me think.  Well, that and a cup of coffee.

Now, it may just be the Cheerios talking, but I am starting to be afraid of cars.  Afraid of crossing in front of them, of crossing behind them and of driving anywhere near them.

I don’t like being around inanimate objects that are smarter than I am; and when they can move without my throwing them, well, it paralyzes me.

Have you seen the gizmos they’re putting in cars nowadays?  Lori, you can get a car that can parallel park itself.  Lori, wisely keeps looking for a place.  (Me, I had a bad-boy boyfriend when I was a teenager who taught me how to do it.  But I digress.)

But based on the commercials, by the time the Ford Focus maneuvers into the spot, I would have wet my pants, because these days I parallel park only when I stop to buy coffee/use the restroom after being stuck in traffic.

These gadgets though, terrify me.  There’s one that will brake automatically if you get too close to the car ahead of you.  What if you’re in the sort of traffic we have here in Northern Virginia.  Hell, I’d have whiplash on my first commute.

Have you seen the one that keeps you from hitting the car in your blind spot?  I’m not quite sure how that one works.  It might involve wheel-destroying spikes, a la Ben Hur, or maybe flame throwers, but hey you won’t hit that car.  And you won’t even need to look over your shoulder.  Cause looking over your shoulder can be dangerous.

And then there is the one that vibrates when it thinks you’re falling asleep.  I’m sure it will know exactly when you’re going onto the other side of the road to avoid pot holes, small animals and wheel-destroying spikes coming from the cars that won’t let their drivers look over their shoulders.  I’m positive.  Because no in-car gizmo has ever, ummmm, not worked properly, right?

I am surely not alone in my fear of these gizmos.  Because anyone who has ever had a car with an electronic device in it knows that they break down all the time.

Me, I stopped trusting them about 2 months after I got my current car.  It has lots of gizmos and I trusted one of them once, while backing up.  My car has a Road Runner stuck in side of it.  It goes “beep beep” when I get too close to anything behind me.  It is supposed to “beep beep” in a progressive fashion, as I get closer to stuff.  It goes apoplectic if I reverse to within 5 feet of a wall – knowing that I won’t be able to open the back hatch sends it into a frenzy.  Especially since I only open the back on weekends and at places where there are no walls.  The car will, of course, allow the nose of my car to be in the middle of the driving lane without a peep, though.

I trusted the “beep beep” once.  I was backing up into the only spot left in a garage.  It was the only way in.  My car was filled with a bunch of kids who were being kids and making noise.  Sadly, none of them said “beep beep.”  Neither did the car.  I inched into the wall, giving my  new car a custom bumper.  It is dented in as if someone hit it with a large muffin.

I’m pretty sure that these new safety features are going to lead to some pretty interesting reality TV shows.  And I guess anything that can make those shows worth watching might be worth a shot.

56 Comments

Filed under Driving, Gizmos, Humor, Technology, Traffic

56 responses to “Smarter than me

  1. Thanks! You have to be very brave to go backwards — in anything!

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  2. Reverse has never been my best gear, so I totally relate.

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  3. It’s getting more and more dangerous out there. Be afraid. Be very afraid! Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Roadrunner beeps and cars – great post. Is it a worry that the car may suddenly decide you are not competent to drive since you are ignoring all their “helpful” beeps – and just shut down – to “save” you from perceived harm?….Uh, will it lock the doors so you can’t escape and run away? ( would the car’s camera snap your picture and hand it over to the authorities? Oh you are right – there’s a sitcom comedy show in here somewhere! great post

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  5. Our replies are all over the place. Perhaps there is an Word Press app for that.

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  6. Funny woman. I wondered how those back up beepers worked. I’ve been wishing for one..l.now I know. Maybe you can just tell one of the kids in your car to get out, watch how close you’re getting and beep for you.

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    • That’s good: If I accidently (wink, wink) hit them, then I can file an auto med claim and bodily injury claim on their behalf, plus, I can file through the insurance. This could be a money maker. Do you think they would suspect insurance fraud after the 3rd kid got hit?

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    • There is so much to be learned by blogging, don’t cha think? Today you learned not to yearn for a car that beeps. And that’s a good thing. I have heard that the cameras are great though, but as I never backed into anything when I turned around and looked, I figure I’ll go with what I know next time. If it’s available. IF it hasn’t been replaced by a robot that automatically does it for me while I go for coffee!

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      • Word Press, you are messin with me and puttin’ my comment in the WRONG place. Beep Beep.

        Lorre, I’m sure nobody will guess that you have intentionally backed over one of your children or over your husband. More likely you will back over me. But I have left messages of your threats and it will be considered premeditated. Or premedicated. Or maybe premenstral. One of those. Or maybe all of them.

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  7. LMAO………..My stupid car beeps and there isn’t anything behind it. Well…..I happened been named in any lawsuits yet, so I assume there was nothing behind me.

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  8. Nice Post!
    I love gadgets, i may say live for them. 🙂 But i really do not like people depending on the gizmos. I am not sure if they helps or they break the concentration. May these instrument makes person too much dependent on the other factors than driving.

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    • Hi Arindam,
      I actually like gadgets and gizmos too. Or I used to when I could figure them out. But they are like The Borg these days, and I do not want to assimilate. And if people depend on them there will be more and more trouble.

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  9. Lori over at “Sunny Side Up” was nice enough to send me a link for your post, and I’m going to thank her for it. Now I’m going to thank you for a very amusing read that put a warm smile on my face, and also agree with you that maybe it would be best to not overly depend on electronics for safely driving our cars. If somebody gave you a car with Windows Vista for an operating system, would you drive it? I know that I sure wouldn’t! Lol 🙂 Thanks again for the smiles and laughter, and have a great day!

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    • Thanks Chris (and thanks Lori). I agree. Unless it is a laptop size car, small enough for me to throw across the driveway, I DO NOT want it run by Vista! Now that I have Windows 7 I’m pretty sure that I don’t want my cars using that operating system either!

      Thanks for reading!

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  10. Hi, I followed your post left in Red’s ‘Green Room’ on her M3 blog and laughed as I read your post. Very good! I am now a follower. My blog is http://www.poeticparfait.wordpress.com if you want to take a look as well.
    christyb

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  11. Hehe, Iv just posted this on another blog, and will share it with you!

    I will tell you a way my father taught me, he was a high speed police driving instructor.

    When you find a parking inbetween 2 cars, see that your car will firstly fit between them. Then what you do, you drive just past the back end of the front car. Then put your car into reverse. When the back slanting bit by the back window (back passanger and back window) is in line with the other cars boot (End of the car) then turn your steering wheel hard (all the way) so the front of your car goes outwards, and the back of your car goes into the gap. Now when the slanting bit of the front window lines up with the boot of the other car, then swing your driving wheel hard the other way, and your front end will swing in, and your back end will straighten up. With this technique you can get into the smallest of small spaces.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards from http://allanjourney.com
    🙂

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    • Thanks, Allan,

      I am actually the designated parallel parker in my family — I learned how to do it in my teens. I look at it as a challenge when I try to fit into a small space. But that’s cause I love to drive. I don’t want any of these gadgets that take over the controls. I am afraid of what’ll happen when other, less confident drivers DO let them take over. I fear it will make people poorer drivers, not safer ones!

      Thanks for visiting/commenting!

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  12. Are you sure you didn’t just see an episode of the Jetson’s? None of this can be real, can it? Can’t we all just get mega rich and hire personal drivers?

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  13. What a funny story especially about the “spikes” and “flame throwers!” But it’s true, the more fancies, the more likely to go out on ya…goes bonkers right before you really need it to work!

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  14. That makes me feel better. Because I was going slowly, knowing that the beep would start when I got too close. BANG. Oops. Oh well. Wylie Coyote won that one!

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  15. The minute you start depending on the gizmos, the closer you are to disaster. A man in our town backed through his house from the garage. Apparently, the warning didn’t buzz or he missed it somehow.

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  16. All the new gadgets I can’t afford. Parallel parking without my help?
    Geez. That’s got to be worth thousands!
    It’s okay because those gadgets will break and then I wouldn’t be able to afford the repairs. Then I would be right back where I started. Driving around the block!

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    • Smarter AND cheaper! You are amazing Lori! (But the relatively cheap Ford Focus has the parallel parking thing and I don’t think it is very expensive. It’s very slow to do it though. And of course I wonder about pedestrians!

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  17. I think that the engineers who design them just sit around trying to figure out how to make normal folks look stupid! Thanks for the invite for next year — I will be there!

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  18. I’m not into gadgets too. The newer they are, the more intimidated I get. I’m impressed with your parallel parking skills. I’m not great with parking either. Thanks for the last comment. Yes, you’re invited in next year’s masquerade ball. Take care!

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  19. Or it ends in the repair shop. But cars aren’t made to last anymore. Hey, at least they’re expensive 😦

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  20. A humorous look at what appears to be a personal phobia … so I leave you this.

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    • I HAD one of those cars — well, my Dad did. All 7 of us (M, D + 5) would cruise along — my brother and I sitting on laps (and remember “the hump”?). And that speedometer — I remember being surprised when they added the 0s. What an unexpected trip in the wayback machine. Thanks!

      BUT I am not so sure it is a phobia. They are taking control away from drivers and giving it to machines. That break (not to mention brake). I am happy with a seat warmer and wipers that come on when it rains. Oh and satellite radio. Oh, and ….

      Thanks for the comment and the video. I’m still smiling!

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  21. You are right about gizmos always breaking……..and it usually starts some sort of domino effect that never ends!

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  22. Hi,
    A great post. I agree, I also would not like to put my trust in whatever new device they have decided on adding to a car, too many things can go wrong, especially in traffic.
    Also can you imagine when something stopped working, some of these new electronics could easily shut down the whole car, yep more maintenance as well.

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  23. Does anyone miss the front bench seats? I never see them anymore, guess they were a safety hazzard.

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    • That was the only way we 5 kids could have fit in that back seat. Come to think of it, somebody was probably up front — likely me. Without a seatbelt. I think I miss the way folks didn’t fret so much about safety. For example, we could play on the railroad tracks and wander around unsupervised. Oh well! Your comment nearly got lost — I found it in spam. But you are NOT spam. And I told Word Press just that! Thanks for stopping by!

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  24. PETA is watching.

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  25. Oh mama, what I would give for those spikes and flamethrowers. I don’t need them for cars I need them for critters in the road.

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  26. I had no idea they had all this, except for the roadrunner one. I could actually get behind (metaphorically speaking) a car that had tire spikes or flamethrowers. That would be cool. These cars remind me of Windows, and I have the same issue: I don’t want it thinking for me. It doesn’t actually know what I want it to do, so it needs to stop.

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    • There are moments when I want the spikes and flamethrowers, but I don’t think everyone should get them. Just you, me and our friends.

      Your analogy is right on!

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    • I have forever wanted a James Bond car with missile launchers hidden behind the headlights so that when somebody idiot cuts me off….

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      • When they have a gizmo that will vaporize, I will be interested. Until then you’d have to deal with the debris which would simply slow down traffic even more!

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  27. I don’t like this new features either. What if the sensor that sense you’re about to hit something malfunctions and thinks you’re about to hit something when you’re really not going to? What happens? Does it slam on the breaks and cause you to crash? How exactly does your car know how big and where the spot is to parallel park your car? How can a car tell that you’re about to fall asleep?

    Give me a regular car any day. If you fall asleep at the wheel then I don’t think something vibrating is going to save you.

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    • Exactly! When I hit the wall, there was no beep. Not a peep, either. I don’t trust these things at all, but other people will, and at our expense. Yikes!

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  28. You and I have laughed about this subject, and I’m so glad you decided to write about it. It’s a topic worth discussion, concern, and ultimately laughter, as long as we’re not the ones who end up on the reality shows! Another great post, Elyse! Kuddos!

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  29. Great post! I don’t trust them either. The gizmos won’t pay the fines or court judgements. In my opinion, drivers are distracted enough without having more bells and whistles distracting them.

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    • Yeah, I prefer to have to pay attention to the driving, well, except when I am texting :).

      My son actually got out of a speeding ticket when he could say that his GPS gave him the wrong speed limit. Well he still got a fine but no points (and no insurance increase).

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  30. Sounds like the new gizmos in the cars are systematically trying to remove the driver from actually being necessary to the operation of the vehicle. With some drivers, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Fun post.

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    • Thanks Paprika. I think that people who can drive should drive, and the rest stay within walking distance. There are ways to safely and smartly avoid parallel parking, Like Lori does. But you still have to look, pay attention and drive using your brain and your eyes as well as your feet!

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  31. Thanks for the first-thing-in-the-morning smile! Love the part about Ben0Hur and the blind spots. LOL!

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