A Driver Moment

Grandpa Simpson in a self-driving Google Car

Greetings from the car of the future!

First the good news: We no longer have to drive! The cars drive themselves!

And now the bad news: We still have to sit in them if we want to go anywhere.

I am now 110 years old. In the future molecular biologists have definitively proved that over the course of many many years, drinking red wine and being overweight dramatically slows down the aging process.

Fortunately, I had a head start.

And for me, at 110 years of age, the driverless car is a godsend. It has given me the opportunity to get behind the wheel and sit for hours in traffic even though I am senile and have cataracts.

Of course in this day and age, “behind the wheel” is just an anachronistic phrase that refers to bygone methods for steering. In place of the steering column is a big touch screen panel that I can’t figure out. But its OK. It lets me play Bingo with Friends.

At any rate, the other day I was in my car asleep at the wheel because I am 110 years old and senile.

Suddenly a gyrating siren screams from the dashboard and a blinding red and blue light flashes on the overhead display panel, as if I am being pulled over. They used to call this display the rearview mirror, before driving safely became obsolete.

If you ask me, no longer having a rearview mirror is a real benefit. I can now pick my nose without fear that the driver of the car in front of me can see me in his mirror.

I am not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I am 110 years old and senile.

Where was I? Oh yes, going seventy miles an hour on the highway.

So the car gently pulls over by itself as a commanding voice emanates from somewhere within the vehicle. It is the virtual police. You see in the driverless future, the highway patrol resides in the cloud. In fact, most things then reside in the cloud.

In the future there is a lot of concern about cloud pollution and server farms taking over the suburbs and such.

And before I know it I am having a conversation with an authoritative voice in my car.

Police: Driver’s license and registration please?

Me: I don’t have a license. It’s a driverless car.

Police: Don’t get cute. I’ll check our database . . . OK, it says here you live in New Jersey, you are 110 years old, legally blind, and senile. Where are you going?

Me: I am trying to go home. But the car seems to be lost. It took a wrong turn just after I tried to change the channel.

Police: Change the what?

Me: The channel on this computer thingy here. I was tired of looking at that big map. I wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune.

Police: Sir, do you know where you are right now?

Me: Probably somewhere near exit 9 on the Turnpike.

Police: You are in Nebraska.

Me: No wonder I am so hungry.

Police: You must have changed your destination on the World Wide Auto Traffic Control window.

Me: What?

Police: I SAID YOU MUST . . .

Me: Sonny, you don’t have to yell. I heard you the first time. All these dang screens confuse me. A window for this, a menu for that. I thought I was playing Bingo.

Police: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?

Me: Probably because I can’t see over the dashboard and you are profiling seniors.

Police: No, sir. It’s your car. It is old. Its processor response times are slow. It has trouble detecting WiFi signals at night. It could cause an accident. It is just no longer capable of driving itself safely.

Me: But it is an original self-driving electric Google car! It only has 800,000 miles on it!

Police: That was a long time ago. A lot of advancements have been made since then.

Me: Maybe that explains why it jumped the curve and side swiped a stop sign the other day outside of Friendlies. I almost missed the buffet.

Police: I am really sorry sir, but we need to pull your car and registration. Your license is still valid for another 50 years, but I am afraid we can no longer let you sit in this vehicle.

Me: But what will it do without me? It has been driving itself around for years. How will it get to the USB charging station every week? Isn’t there is an Assisted Driving Facility where I can take it?

Police: Do you have a way to get home?

Me: If I can figure out how to use it, I have an app on my watch that will help me.

Police: Bingo.

Me: No, I think it is called Uber.

I am glad I am not a car. Getting old really sucks.