Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flying Cars, but Not Until We Get the Road Cars Right

I've been expecting to see flying cars for a long time. When I was growing up and reading Dad's Popular Science and Mechanix Illustrated magazines back in the 60's, it seemed like every other issue had an article on the advances being made to prototypes of the flying car. I guess there's a chance that I'll see a few of them one of these years.

I don't think now is the right time, though. It seems to me, after my forty years of driving, there are a few improvements that should be made to the earth-bound cars before we can start taking our vehicles into the the sky. When we get the road cars right, then we will have earned the right to congest the airways.

For instance, why do we still have a blind spot? That's something I haven't been able to figure out. It just seems that within the first couple of years after cars were mass produced, at least one or two manufacturers would have thought that eliminating the blind spot could be a good selling point. I saw a tv ad a couple of weeks ago for some luxury car that now has a blind spot sensor, but that isn't going to do me any good.

Another feature that we need is a "the car in front of me is stopped and waiting for a break in oncoming traffic so they can make a left-hand turn, and I know you can't see them because you're behind me and you think I'm stopped in the middle of the road for no reason, but honking at me is not going to do anything more than piss me off, so just sit tight" indicator. It could be something eye-catching like a little flag that runs up a miniature flag staff on the trunk.

Lastly, in the same way we have a high-beam setting for our headlights, we need a high-scream button for the horn. There are times when honking the horn, no matter how many times or how long we toot, we don't get the attention that the situation demands. If we had a louder, more obnoxious option, we might get the attention of those people who are driving while sleeping in the lane next to us.

I'm looking forward to seeing those mid-century artist renditions of flying cars zooming over our cities come to reality, but I think we need to postpone that until we can get our road cars right. Listening, Detroit?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Born to Run

I'm not a runner or jogger of any degree, much less long distance endurance running. I didn't know who Micah True was until the search for him was covered in headline news. I learned that he was one of the main characters in a non-fiction book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and that he was recognized by everyone who was active in long distance running as a person who embodied the sport. Though I didn't know him, or about him, the passionate pursuit that he brought to the thing he loved most will be his legacy, and I offer my condolences to those who will feel the loss of his passing.

The title of the book, Born to Run, captured my attention, especially since it is non-fiction. I think everyone has a calling, but we're not always tuned in to the voice that whispers it to us. I wonder how I personally would fill in the blank: Born to __________. Actually, I think I know the answer. I'm doing it right now - Born to Write. It’s taken me a long time to come to that realization, but I also believe that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

I plan to read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run. I understand that it is inspirational and written with exuberance. I want to learn more about Micah True and the other people portrayed in this story. Though I’m not a runner, I know there is a lesson here for me on dedication and perseverance. Other than writing, I want to always be Born to Learn from people like Micah True who show us how to extend our idea of limits.