Some Notes On Driving In The Final Days Before The Machines Just...

Some Notes On Driving In The Final Days Before The Machines Just Do It For Us



For a number of years I
drove everywhere, then I moved to a place where I don’t. I am
currently enjoying an extended visit to a place where I am driving
again. Some things that seem to have changed in the last five

☠ Nobody is looking at the road. The road is the
distraction. The cars mostly don’t hit each other but they seem to
come close basically all the time. Driving is insane and horrifying
and I can’t believe we modernized our country around its demands. A
few weeks ago I saw a driver with a phone propped in front of the
instrument panel playing some kind of video. This driver was
watching TV! Which is possibly not as bad as texting, which 100% of
drivers do all the time.

☠ Nobody knows where they are or where they are going, because
they are following the directions of either toy robots plungered to
their windshields or toy robots gripped in their non-driving hands
(there is no such thing as a non-driving hand). The fullness of
this dependency isn’t clear until you find yourself on a quiet
residential street in Los Angeles, carefully creeping along with
four more cars behind you—maybe ONE of which is actually
consciously taking a “shortcut”—because this “street” is really
more of a “driveway” because I’m sure it doesn’t look that way from
space/get parsed that way from the data set. Recently I was
following my/the machine’s directions to a ski resort north of New
York City. It took us out of the cell service area, down an empty
road, to a trailhead on the other side of the mountain. When we
turned around we saw a line of cars decorated with skis and full of
worried-looking young people coming the other way, heading to the
same dead end. Finally, back at the corner of the “main” road, we
saw some kids out in front of their house. They were standing
behind a sign that said: “$$$ MAPS TO HUNTER MOUNTAIN $$$.” They
get it. We don’t.

☠ Nobody knows anything about cars, except Car People and Truck
People. But regular Driver People just seem to Google “best car.”
The most important “luxury” option seems to be a system through
which to connect your phone and your car, which for now allows you
to play music and amplify navigation commands but in the future
might just be a way to keep your passive passenger placation
devices charged and placating.

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☠ Nobody can tell you how to get somewhere, including people who
drive for a living, because wouldn’t it be such a huge waste of
time to learn all that information?? I get the feeling that people
have even begun unlearning routes because they assume their
machines will take them a better way.
They might be right
! Or they maybe they’re wrong, and every
“ROUTE” command just throws your vehicle and body into a giant
overcomplicated Plinko game. In any case full submission to GPS is
a strange feeling. Well, sort of: it is not something you always
identify as a feeling, because you’re still busy looking at the
road to know when to hit the go pedal and the stop pedal, and when
to move the wheel left or right (“after the machine asks you to” is
the answer but we still like to wait and see, I guess). But that
sense that you get, as you passively submit to the voice with the
sinister elocution, that everyone around you is also on
invisible rails, and that you feel safer that way, and that you
might actually feel better if the voices just went ahead and said,
all at once, here, let me take the wheel: that’s a little

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