austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Well, you don't know what we can see

You can't go anywhere these days where people are talking about the phenomenon of face-blindness without encountering people who are talking about the phenomenon of face-blindness. That's the condition in which a person (no, the person to the right there) simply can't recognize other faces no matter what's done to distinguish them. This is a serious problem since nearly forty percent of all social interactions in our time are based on recognizing faces, with the remainder consisting of not returning e-mails, quipping to others in line about how slowly the line is moving, and apologizing to cats. Those who suffer from face-blindness (roughly twenty percent enjoy it, and fifteen percent didn't hear the question) have difficulty distinguishing even those faces of loved ones or people seen all the time, and this can happen even when the viewed face has convenient identifying features such as vampire teeth, the person's name written across the forehead, or a tendency to chase after people while shouting.

And yet how can this compare to the much more trivial problem of car blindness? It may be challenging to figure out a particular face in a crowd, but how does that compare to picking out a specific car, such as the one you're supposed to be getting in? It's one thing if the car is the only one in the crowd of people, as long as you're still pretty sure on the difference between people and cars and don't think that cyborgs don't confuse the issue. But a car in a mass of cars is different.

Faces at least offer nearly infinite variability, while your car start out at least exactly like all the other cars of its same make and year except that other people seem to somehow have nicer ones than you do, except for the people whose cars are hip-deep in wrappers of things. Sure, every car you look at was at one point the newest car in the world even if it was just for a fraction of a second while some other car somewhere was completed, but then every person you look at was also the youngest person in the world at some time, and you can't go around relying on that as a distinguishing feature as so few people mention either state except when their resumes are really thin.

You could try relying on gimmicks to identify a car, such as by putting a ``My Child And My Money Go To The Name Of Some College Or University'' . But that's not going to work for everyone. What if you don't have that moment of weakness that allows you to find this just funny enough to put on your car for all time or until some method of removing window stickers is devised? What if your child doesn't go to some college or university? What if you don't have a child? What if you don't have a college or university? What if the child you don't have chooses to go to a college or university that chooses to remain anonymous? By the time you got done explaining that in your window sticker the sticker would be run over the side to the next car over, and that's almost certainly not yours, and how would you ever find out whose it was?

The easiest way to make a car distinctive is to have a shocking accident in it that leaves the body permanently altered in some way, such as featuring a huge hole, or resting atop the storage locker place on Route 33. That's a bit much to do just to recognize a car later on, given the probability you'll someday want to not be at the storage locker place on Route 33, or that there'll be this irritating rattling from the heater fans. The irritating rattling from the storage locker manager you can ignore by turning up the radio. If you have no radio, turn up the satellite navigation system.

On thinking this over I can't figure any way there is to tell one car from another. The only workable alternative is to never leave the car or, if you must leave the car, never return.

Trivia: In his 1934 campaign for a United States Senate seat, Harry S Truman accumulated $12,286 in expenses for the primary election, and $785 for the general election. Source: Truman, David McCullough.

Currently Reading: A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles From Outer Space, Michael W Friedlander.


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