January 19th, 2007

krazy koati

There should be a big crinkle, assuming this map is right

Before setting off on your car trip check that you do have a car: it is socially awkward on most highways to be just running along without any kind of vehicle, not least because you have to signal all your turns with your hands instead of with electric lights, like in cartoons from the 1950s, which might not be recognized by people who began driving after the Apollo IX mission. Also check whether you are to drive or simply be a passenger on this ride. While it is inconvenient to have two or more drivers simultaneously operating the vehicle it is at least as big a faux pas to have fewer than one. Also make sure that you've closed the front door of the building you've left securely. Getting out of the car to check that door will give you one last needed chance to accidentally lock the keys in the car.

A responsible driver begins with a check of the important safety equipment of the car. For example, the mirrors should be clean and show what is behind the car. If they do not, try turning the mirrors upside-down. This will not change anything, but the effort will make you feel like you've accomplished something. When turning them around doesn't work either, your options are limited. You can have someone else drive and let them deal with the problem; you can choose not to set out at all; or you can simply face backwards in the car and use the mirrors to see what is in front. In that last case, the mirrors will be behind your head, so that you can only see them if you have eyes in the back of your head. These can be obtained from your municipal transmogrification center, but you may need to first fill out forms. Ask for them at the town hall or library. Don't mention my name. If you have eyes installed on both the front and back of your head then you don't much need the mirrors anymore. However, that still leaves you with the problem of getting to the library or town hall or center in the first place. We live in complicated times. It might be easier to be an irresponsible driver.

The radio can be a valuable resource for driving, particularly if you can find a traffic report. Thanks to a clear and concise traffic report you can learn there are delays at the Tappan Zee Bridge. This raises the question of whether the Tappan Zee Bridge has ever not had delays. And in any case why should it be mentioned so prominently all the time? Or is it just a catchy enough name that it's easy to hear in the rapid-fire reporting of locations and conditions, so it sounds as if it gets mentioned more than it does? And why should it be mentioned at all if you're driving in someplace like San Jose, California, such as Chattanooga, Tennessee? In what way is San Jose, California, like Chattanooga, Tennessee? In what ways are they different? Can you explain them in 500 or fewer words? Carry on like this and soon you've missed the rest of the traffic report, and discover that the Tivo remote will not rewind the radio. There isn't even a good reason for you to have the Tivo remote. At this point it's probably best to return home, where the wind has blown the front door open. An efficient driver can have all this done without even leaving the driveway, and an extremely efficient one without even leaving the house, removing the need for a vehicle or a driver.

Trivia: The Eiffel Tower was initially lit by 22,000 gas burners. Source: Signor Marconi's Magic Box, Gavin Weightman.

Currently Reading: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land that Never Was, David Sinclair.