One of the coolest parts of being a kid was when you first started to ride your “big boy/girl/she/it/PronounOfTheDay bike.” Then the training wheels finally came off and you truly were a big boy. There wasn’t much else to define your “big boy-ness” until you got your license. Maybe getting to 2nd base or something, but that wasn’t provable.
Damn, we’re accepting the risk and responsibility of being on the big boy bike. This thing could tip and any moment and we’d fall on our face, your knee would explode, or worst of all .. you got a boo boo.
But we accepted it. We didn’t know really that we accepted risk, but we did. And it was exciting, it was awesome, it was a rush. HOLY SHIT, I’m a big boy! Look at me cruise down the driveway with my helmet and bright green huffy. it even had some kickass ninja turtle tassels on the handlebars… and yes, that’s still considered manly.
What I’m getting at is that we were all so excited for that moment. We, as little kids, could accept the risk of going fast, riding on pavement, and possibly (definitely) eating shit. And our parents expected it from us. They knew, that at some point, we’re going to get banged up, cry to the heavens in some decibel that only dogs can hear for someone to fix it, they’d give us a band-aid and mom would kiss it better. Boom. I’m fine. Pain is temporary, but riding your big boy bike glory is forever.
Now since when has it become that everything is “for our safety?”
Bitch, that’s not what I was taught when I was a kid. I was told that as you grow, you take more and more calculated risks and you deal with the consequences. Should we have a few features that keep us safe? Of course. It would be ridiculous to think otherwise. Airbags are awesome. I’d much rather a pillow of air smacks me in the face during a collision than a metal steering wheel and a mean case of whiplash.
Shit, our parents made sure to strap a helmet on our heads before they pushed us by the seat of our big-PRONOUN-bike. They weren’t serial killers that wanted to see their kid’s head split open all over the pavement. They DID want to see us kick some ass riding in a straight line, then start to take a few small, calculated risks and subsequently… fail, which would lead to the infamous “booboo.” Again, easily repairable but their lessons last a lifetime. I still remember the first time my knee gushed blood. All better now, but I remembered that sand doesn’t have the same traction that pavement does.
Now, if we we’re supposed to learn how to stay in control when riding a bicycle, why are our cars starting to drive for themselves? Do we really want to have our shit on autopilot all the time? Why? So you can browse Instagram and drink your pumpkin latte? Where’s the fun in that?
Driving used to be enjoyable. You, behind the wheel of a 2 ton slab of steel with 4 wheels that allowed you to bring yourself from A to B but also allow you to feel in control. Sometimes life can spiral like a drunk tornado on a tilt-a-whirl, but those times when you could just go for a drive allowed you to think while having a grip on something. Countless times when I was younger, I found the most joy and solace by going for an hour drive aimlessly. I’d just get myself lost and then get home. Who cared? Gas was cheaper and the car was fun to drive. Some of your favorite music playing in the background while you could let your thoughts unravel.
Now driving can become a chore… and you know what peels away layers of the fun? When your car drives for you. Why is it reading the lanes and beeping at me? I will preface; I am a blinker advocate. But if no one is around, it’s fine. Change lanes 40 times with no blinker for all I care… but, if a blinker is on and no one is around, did it really blink?
BEEP BEEP BEEP as I’m changing lanes. The steering wheel starts to turn for itself while “staying within the lines.” The car automatically slowing down when getting “too close” to the car in front of you. Beeps at me when I’m about to back over a pedestrian… okay, that one’s fair.
Overall, I don’t want it. Can’t we just agree that, although progress in technology is great, sometimes we’re going a little far. These “safety features” could probably be a bit overkill. How about we make a wheel that doesn’t lose tread? How about suspension that is indestructible? How about an unrustable undercarriage? How about an engine that goes 2000 miles on a drop of gas and a sunflower seed? BEEP BEEP BEEP STAY IN YOUR LANE KRIS BEEEP BEEP BEEP BOOP.
This isn’t the “get-off-my-lawn-you-damn-kids” speech. This is just the let’s-change-lanes-and-stop-being-giant-pussies” speech. Control your car and control your life. Control what you can and if it’s driving you insane… well, be 16 again and go for a drive.
Dinner’s ready. Until next time. Which will be tomorrow. Because consistency is key. It’s 9:36pm. My goodness.