Friday, April 19, 2013

Peeking (Not Peering) Into The Abyss

The Car of My Future.  Distant, I hope.  Beyond boredom: Full Ennui.

When I was in my mid-20's, an old guy I knew of voluntarily gave up driving.  He was in his early 80's.  He ran a Volkswagen Beetle off the Interstate with his Lincoln Town Car--and didn't know he'd done it.  That's why he gave up driving, after the Highway Patrol called it to his attention.  He understood lane discipline, but could no longer practice it.

I'm friends with two couples, one in their 80's and one in their 90's, who really shouldn't be driving.  But they live in the single-family suburban homes in which they raised their families.  Those homes are their lives.  They need to drive: to the store, to church, to their other activities.  Giving up  their licenses would be surrendering life as they've known it, not to mention their personal autonomy.  They will not do so until they can't pass the vision test.  Even now, they shouldn't be able to pass that test: their peripheral vision is very poor.  Their reaction times and concentration are poor.  They try to avoid driving at night, and they stay off the freeways.  (If they need to get to the airport, or we want to take a day trip, I drive.)

Eventually it will be time for me to slow down.  Give up my toys and my radar detector.  Move to an apartment near my children.  Drive mostly on straight roads, only to get where I need to go.  What an existence!  Want to know how to slow yourself down as your vision and reflexes degrade?  Buy an econobox with the standard wheel/tire package and an automatic transmission.  It's pointless to try to drive such a car.  So every time I get behind the wheel of my current vehicles, I savor the experience.

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