Saturday, July 7, 2007

Me 'N My Automobile

Not so many years ago, folks would drive their buggies to town, tie their horses to the hitching post, stroke the creatures who had brought them there so faithfully, and step inside the general store to purchase the supplies they needed. When they came back out, the horses would whinny with joy. Then the people would feel happy to have companions who valued their presence so highly.

Back in those days, everything had a more personal touch. You watered and fed your horses, talked to them, and petted them. Unless you were some sort of ogre from Black Beauty, chances were that you and your horse were good friends.

These days, people just have automobiles. It's difficult to be friends with an automobile. You can't talk to it when you're changing the oil, and staying up at night with it when it's feeling poorly doesn't do much good. An automobile isn't happy when you come to see it in the morning. My vehicle has yet to whinny happily when I come out to the garage.

I do, however, like to observe other people's cars and the relationships that they have developed with these vehicles. There isn't always much to see, though. I have yet to watch a person bury their face in a vehicle's exterior and murmur sweet nothings while mingling their breath with the warm moistness of the car's exhalation system, as they might do if the vehicle was a horse. Somehow I don't blame them.

It's the 21st century now, yet we still haven't managed to escape our longing for the personalized side of life. Instead, as with so many other ancient pleasures, we have managed to repackage it and charge ten times the original amount.

We have done so, in this particular case, with flair.

I was sitting in our suburban a few weeks ago in the Walmart parking lot, indulging in one of my favorite hobbies - people watching, if you must know. Walmart is one of the best places to people watch, especially since my family shops there frequently and I am boycotting said emporium. Trying, anyhow.

Normally, people watching is incredibly distressing, and leads one to contemplate a life of solitude and eternal rejection of society at large. I was pondering such matters when I suddenly became aware of an incredible phenomenon.

I noticed that folks would get out of their vehicles, walk about 50 feet away, and then turn around. At that point, they would press a miniscule button on their keychain. Suddenly, like magic, the vehicle would wink at them!

I was astounded. The personal touch had been revived. It had been repackaged for the 21st century in all its former glory!

I was even more amazed to see what happened when folks finally emerged from the store. Once again, they would press the little button. Once again, the car would wink, sometimes even twice. The coolest cars would even make a cheerful beeping noise. It was a sound that was even cooler than a horse's whinny and more reassuring than a dog's wagging tail. It was also infinitely more personal.

Of course, the relief on each individual's face was priceless. It's good to be loved.

At that point, I was ready to try the procedure myself. I pulled the keys out of the ignition and jumped out of the suburban. After backing up slowly, I pressed the glorious little button and waited for a response.

I was not disappointed. The vehicle winked at me! It then fortified itself against invaders and awaited my return.

I walked into Walmart on air. This time, the impersonal nature of the traditional shopping experience did not unnerve me. The personal touch had once again become an integral part of the American lifestyle!

Upon my return, I roamed the colossal parking lot with a burning curiousity. I tried to signal the coolest vehicles to wink at me, but without success. Apparently, none of them felt a special bond with me. Then I spotted our suburban in the distance.

I dropped my bags and ran toward it, suddenly desperate for some personal acknowledgment in a cold, impersonal world. At the appropriate distance, I skidded to a stop, leaned back for effect, and pressed the magic button.

Instantly, the vehicle lit up and winked twice. Then, with a click, it emancipated itself from the locks that held it secure. My chariot was ready!

Needless to say, I am still thrilled with this development. The ancient affection that once bonded a person to his or her horse has been lifted from its stony grave and repackaged for my generation. The personal touch in transportation has been ushered into the 21st century with a wink and a click!

We welcome her back with a beep.

Disclaimer: The description of the author's behavior in this narrative was subject to creative license. ;)


Jesse Caldwell said...

You Greeks are totally and absolutely hilarious! But then again, it obviously takes Greeks and those with high levels of Hellenization to do this right?

Anonymous said...

gosh, you're hilarious, sarah (and people watching is the funnest thing in the world, almost)

Jacob said...

I have much better thing to do. Much better thing I do have. To do much better I have ? oops -thing- /
-thing- -I- -have-
You have much better thing to do. Much better thing You do have. To do much better You have ? oops -thing- /
-thing- -You- -have-
Sarah, you have a much better thing to do.