The time had arrived for me to trade in my beloved automobile and purchase something more reliable and befitting of my cool, self-image. I ventured to the auto show and, after battling thousands of people and exploring hundreds of vehicles, had concluded what my next mode of transportation would be. I drove to my local dealership; test drove the car of choice and after four and a half hours became the proud of owner of a shiny new motor car. Nothing prepared me for the recent advancement in auto technology.
When I picked up the car I sat and stared at the space-age gizmos before me. The salesperson was great with instructions, but I was mesmerized by the three screens, each with a dozen or so functions and the thirteen (I counted them) controls on the steering wheel (not counting the horn, lights or wipers). I was shown the 400+ page instruction manual and felt intimidated when it was explained that it was only for the technology part of the vehicle.
So off I went with my first goal; turning on the radio. I have always had a vehicle with a knob to turn the sound on and another button to select the station. How archaic I must have been. In my new car I simply touched a button on the steering column and a voice spoke to me. She asked what I wanted and I caught myself cautiously looking around to make sure she wasn’t lurking in the back seat. "Radio?" I asked, timidly. There was silence.
Suddenly, I had choices to make: AM or FM, USB or satellite, blue tooth or CD. I was stunned. I simply said AM and the radio began to play. Boldly I ventured forth and spoke my favorite station and it switched magically. It was time for experimentation. I said blue tooth and suddenly the music from my IPhone blasted thought the car. USB connected me with a thumb drive, where I have 8000 songs stored and satellite offered me over 200 stations from (I assume) outer space.
Pretty excited, I ventured on. "Navigation," I said to my new friend. Politely she asked where I wanted to go. I told her the name of a friend and presto, a map appeared with directions to the address. I discovered later that 'she' had secretly transferred my address book from my phone to her memory card.
"Turn left at the gas station," she commanded. How did she know there was a gas station on the corner?
Suddenly the radio stopped and my friend said someone was calling me. The touch of another button and, presto, I was conversing with someone and my hands had not yet left the wheel. Could this get any better, I thought? Little did I know...
Screens telling me how many kilometres I had left, how fast I was driving, showing me photos of tires and doors to ensure they were inflated and a series of other, yet undetermined innovative resources. One caught my attention. It was an image of my car and above it was another car. It asked me how many car lengths I wanted to distance myself from the vehicle in front. I said three and suddenly my car slowed down.
Next I entered the maximum speed I wanted to drive and bingo, as if by magic, my car drove on its own. Suddenly, someone cut in front and I felt my brakes being applied. It was unbelievable and I was having a blast. I had to share this new-found technology and pushed another button causing 'her' to ask me whom I wanted to email? I responded and she asked what I wanted to say? I told her and she read it back to me. "Send," I said and away went my email.
Suddenly she beeped and a flashing display, indicating I was drifting out of my lane, flashed before me, followed by a big warning which boldly said "Obstacle Detected" and hard pressure on my brakes. I looked and saw the car in front of me had stopped.
It was enough for one day and I needed a rest. I pulled to the side and was proud at the way I handled my new 'baby'. Maybe tomorrow I will venture forth and leave the parking lot of the car dealership.