Cass and I find ourselves longing for the good old days of simple cars. We still have our 1997 Toyota RAV-4 and after 130,000 miles it still drives like a dream (with eyes open!). We recently leased a new car to see what modern automotive technology has to offer.
We certainly don’t need a car with a built-in computer, do we? Good luck with that! Here are just a few pet peeves that ‘drive’ us crazier than we already have become in this technological age.
1. We’re driving along on the freeway and a telephone call to our smartphone suddenly rings at deafening volume via bluetooth from our in-dash radio! Loud noise is already hard to handle at our age, but when you’re startled to the point of losing control of your car, there’s a real problem. By the time we realize what’s happening, our nerves are lighting up like electrical charges, and we’re ready to return the car without delay.
2. A dashboard warning notifies us that there’s a transmission problem and immediate death could result if we drive the car. Really? So we call our dealer’s service department (once we figure out how to dial out via bluetooth). 10-minutes later, our call is routed to a “service specialist” who tells us the problem could be caused by any number of issues in the on-board computer system, warning us not to drive the car until we first drive it to the dealership. What? How are we supposed to drive it to the dealership at risk of immediate death?
3. Have you ever tried reading the manual that comes with the car? It’s a 700-page tome, written in 17 languages, in the smallest font possible. Worse, the index doesn’t match anything we’re looking for . . . such as #2 above!
4. Risking immediate death, we access our Maps App to guide us to the dealership. The onboard computer again takes control, and we can’t tell if we’re listening to the radio, an incoming phone call, an outgoing phone call, or the demanding Maps voice! Give us a break, will you? We just want to enjoy a relaxing drive!
5. The smart phone rings again at high volume, jarring our nerves. We finally find the “answer” button on the dash. Yep, it’s a spammer warning us that if we don’t immediately give him our bank account number, our 15 year-old grandson will be thrown into a Siberian jail cell for 25-years of hard labor! What to do, what to do!!! So, we mute the caller while we nervously dial our grandson on another smart phone. After a dozen rings, he finally answers and wonders why we’re waking him at the ungodly hour of 2:07 PM! We unmute the spammer and utter a few choice words before finally finding the phone’s disconnect button.
6. In the meantime, we realize that cars and trucks all around us are driving as distractedly as we are, swerving from lane to lane despite the new “stay-in-lane” computer guidance system which no one seems to know how to use. We exit at the nearest rest stop and decide to turn around and return home without further delay.
7. Another phone call rattles our nerves. Yep, it’s the spammer. He reminds us that our grandson’s future is in our hands, and if we don’t follow his command within the next 10-seconds, our grandson will disappear forever. We tell him to go . . . well, never mind.
Yes, more than ever we long for the good old days of simple cars! We’re not holding our breath, though . . . it could be a long wait.
© Jeff Resnick 2018
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