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custom car, shot at local car show/swap meet

Image via Wikipedia

Getting good mileage out of your vehicle is important so I understand why people are gravitating to hybrids and the electric. Technology has advanced so much it is hard to keep up with all the bells and whistles in a new automobile. I have a hard time keeping up with the new cell phones, smart phones, app’s etc.

I don’t have a “smart phone” and am sort of hesitant to get one. Why? Probably good old-fashioned paranoia. Isn’t it good/bad enough that I can be tracked via my regular (out-of-date) cell phone? I like the app’s that are functional in the sense that if I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail my phone can act as a GPS device, tracking device for emergencies, and probably all kinds of other useful things. I just hate the idea that someone might be camping and bored – eventually using the stupid gadget to play a game instead of looking at the stars. Wow can you imagine a teenager knowing how to navigate by looking into the heavens?

Clearly I’m not the only person annoyed at those who are on their smart phones constantly; convulsing, unable to sit down to dinner without looking at the display. I can honestly say I have not had a dinner out in the last year where someone isn’t looking at their phone. And, they always have a good reason.

Someone got into my truck recently and balked at not being able to adjust the seat electronically. There are even those that make rude comments on my “gas guzzling” vehicle…as if I could actually afford to buy a hybrid. Believe it or not, there are quite a few humans that cannot afford a new car. Heck they can’t even afford an old/new car. So some of us are stuck with the old technology. They managed in Cuba didn’t they? I’ve never seen so many Chevy Bel Air‘s and “ancient” American cars than in Cuba. It isn’t as though they are running off to the dealership to have any glitches taken care of: Cuban’s probably know how to fix the car themselves.

Aside from the gas issue (which is another topic altogether so don’t even think of bringing up that rant) some of us actually prefer the old technology. Although I am computer savvy and admire how far we’ve come, there is something unsettling about depending on a computer chip for my traveling needs. I like the feel of a real key in my hand. You can’t “fry” a metal key unless you have a soldering iron. You can break a key if you are silly, but that takes a great deal of silliness. Computer chips malfunction…computers malfunction…a lot. Yes, the technology is practically foolproof but what if (when) the power goes out? Our reliance on oil isn’t good but our overwhelming reliance on electricity is even scarier in my opinion.

I’m not living in a yurt mind you, but I still know how to make a cup of coffee by boiling hot water on a stove. I can even make a decent cup of coffee on a campfire. Can you?

My original intention was to just talk about the aesthetic pleasure of an old car. I drool over 1960’s Alfa Romeo GTV‘s. I can even get giddy getting into an original Volkswagen Bug. But getting into a modern one leaves me empty. Advancement in material used in cars is wild but it sure isn’t attractive or sexy. My neighbor has a very fancy (new) Mercedes (and Ferrari) but the interior does nothing for me. An old Mercedes as in 1960’s old is so beautiful it’s hard to imagine a customer wanting anything else.

Recently I got into a friend’s 2005 (?) Porsche and the laminate on the steering wheel had peeled off. My friend said that Porsche wanted so much money to replace it that it wasn’t worth it. If the steering wheel had been made of something else perhaps this wouldn’t have been an issue – but the price of that car sure deserves an aesthetically pleasing (functional) steering wheel, don’t you think? It seems absurd to me. I can assure you there is nothing peeling off my 1998 steering wheel.

So I enjoy getting into my jalopy. I love that things are not hermetically sealed inside. I have electric windows and even a cd player/TAPE DECK. The interior is nothing to write home about; your basic industrial grey, but it is comforting to me. I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong in the car if something spills. Cars are computers now and although “thought out”, they are too dependent on things we (the operator) cannot control or are too involved with in the first place. Some dashboards look like space ships: more buttons to distract you from what you are supposed to be doing: driving.

Interior beauty was for the driver to comfort him. The windows were Nature’s flat-screen; the passenger’s duty was to look out the window and imagine another world, opening themselves to life. The passenger’s responsibility was to look at the map. Do you know how to read a map? If you do will you even have one in the car when the GPS lady takes a permanent nap?

Technology has advanced and it is wonderful. It is also beyond disturbing. We have so many gadgets distracting us from life that we are becoming useless.

Beauty, simple functionality, and craftsmanship used to be important in a car (home, shoe, knife, etc.) but it did not distract us, it comforted us. Manners were once important too. Yes, I am the same gal who admires (loves) the International Space Station, but I am also the gal that believes in boundaries.

I’ve probably said this before (Benadryl head) but my mom used to say how interesting but somehow frightening the clairvoyance of Ray Bradbury. Are we too smart for our own good?

More importantly, when zombies invade and there is nobody to man the power grid, you can’t juice up your car and your cell phone is useless, will you even know how to use a key?