Every once in a while I’m transported back in time. I see or hear or smell something that strips away the high tech digital world of the present. On August 4th 2016 I could have sworn that I was passing through some kind of time slip. I have posted about the Shay Reproduction Roadsters before however for those who don’t know these are antique car design with modern modern materials. The Aesthetics of the older vehicles bring to mind thing like the feel of fine leather upholstery and the smell of wood polish. There was a time when people drove for the pleasure of the open road and not just going from point A to point B. There was an age when a person’s time was their own and a craftsman was appreciated for the quality of his work and not just the sheer volume of production. The artistry in the architecture blended with craftsmanship and skilled hand gave life to the machine. Mass production made them affordable but each piece had its own personality. We gave them names and made them members of our families. When the older ones began to break down we learned how to repair the machine and extended it’s lifetime until there was no choice but to let it go. As I look towards the future of the motor car I can see a time when Artificial Intelligence just might have the potential to deepen our connection with the vehicles. I can imagine how smart cameras embedded in car will recognize our faces and the cars will know our names. When it will learn our routine and wish us a good morning as we step out of the house. There will be lots of bells and whistles. There is already cars with Wi-Fi networks to keep us entertained. Advanced warning systems to keep the driver from changing lanes at the wrong time and cars that drive themselves are becoming more and more common. But, in all of the wondrous technology that is on the rise I have to admit that I will miss the simple pleasure climbing behind the wheel just driving.
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You climb in and slip behind the wheel. The key is already in the ignition and the engine roars to life. The ground shakes in time with the pulsating pistons. The sheer power rumbles throughout your body. One hand on the wheel and one on the stick as you feather the gas pedal and drag the clutch.
A young girl steps out between the two cars and shakes the bandana from her hair. You glance at your opponent only long enough to make eye contact and then back to the bandana raised high in air.
Three. Tighten your grip on the wheel
Two. Find that sweet spot in the clutch and rev the engine.
One. Release the clutch and give it all she’s got.
Thick clouds of smoke roll out from the tires and the smell of hot rubber saturates the air. The inertia holds you tightly in the seat and you become as much machine as you are human. The wind whips through your hair as you check the mirrors. The car in the mirror fades into a tiny dots as the motor winds out to full power. You have already passed the finish line.
You allow the car to coast a little before brakes are applied. You turn the car around and meet your opponent still coming the other way. The sportsman like thing to do is congratulate him on a race well run and wish him better luck next time however you’ve beaten him so bad that it would be like rubbing salt in an open wound.
He avoids eye contact and it’s just as well. Back at the starting line the crowd cheers as you exit the vehicle and collect your prize. A single kiss from the girl with the bandana.
Back in the day warm weather meant cruising. Now, there’s a fine art to this favored pastime of previous generations. First, you need a vehicle. It doesn’t have to be a classic vintage machine but that certainly helps. What’s important is the “CQ” or Coolness Quotient. If you don’t really have a classic ride then there’s several ways of compensating with what’s available.
For example, a compact car such as a Dodge Colt or a Chevy Sundance the preferred method was to fill the back seat with stereo equipment. Next, you needed a good mix tape. In the old days play lists were stored on high tech spools of magnetic film. It was important to make sure you had the right flow to the music because there’s no shuffle like we know today. You could fast forward or rewind. If you were really good at it you could count the seconds and stop the spooling at just the right time to get the song you wanted.
The next thing you need is a long stretch of quiet road and plenty of friends. The party starts in late afternoon. You simply spend hours and hours of driving slowly up and down that quite road with the volume on 10 and the windows down. Hopefully until the wee hours of the night. As you cruise the stretch you look for places to park and visit your friends.
On a good night every teenager in the county will be there. Some will push the envelope too far and the police might be called in to restore order but for the most part trouble is minor. For the guys it’s really about finding the girls. I suspect, that the girls would show up to be found by the right guy.
I’m sure the stories abound. Those kind of stories get better every time we tell them. 😉 What was really important was the memories and the friendships made.
A few days ago I wrote about The Unknown Destiny. I indicated that God has a plan for our lives. But that doesn’t mean that I’m a fatalist. I do believe that God gave us the gift and the right of free will. (Which he will not violate but that’s a topic for another day. ) As beings of free will we have a great potential. . . to make mistakes. Now, there’s an endless list of errors and pitfalls that we can examine. They can all be broken down into two groups.
1. Mistakes made due to bad information or a lack of knowledge.
2. Mistakes made due to a failure to accept good information or gaining knowledge.
On my day job I often joke that erroneous was the ancient god of blunders and that any mistake on my paperwork was due to his mischief. But ultimately we all must take responsibility for our own actions.
So if mistakes can be lumped into two main categories then what about resolutions?
I say there’s two types resolutions as well.
1. Immediate & 2. Delayed.
The advantage of the immediate resolution should be obvious. The sooner an error is uncovered the less energy it takes to correct the problem.
The results of the delayed resolution then would mean expending more time and energy to bring things back into balance. But, there’s a compound problem with the delayed resolution. Human nature is , well…lazy. Because of our limited energy we tend to not want to accept a mistake that takes great effort to resolve. We ignore the problem. We misplace blame. We will do anything it takes to avoid expending the energy it takes to break down the error and start over. The whole time these errors gain more energy and momentum and become harder to resolve.
What does that have to with my photo above? Let’s take a second look at it.
It looks as though the road leads to the mountain and the sunbeam in the background. That’s because I created the illusion that it does with forced perspectives. In reality, the road curves off to the right and makes a circle back to place where I am standing with my camera. If we assumed we could follow the road and reach the mountain we would make a bad choice based on a lack of knowledge. But, if we follow the road and refused to accept truth when we reach the curve we would go around in circles until we give up on our goal or collapse from exhaustion. The sooner we accept the need for a course correction the easier it is to get to our goal.
History. The word actually says His story. In the age of automation history is short. 3D printers are set to replace the skilled hands of an old world craftsman. Artificial intelligence is ready to take over the jobs of lawyers, financial planners and even educators. Even doctors are at risk of being replaced by a bot. But even with all the miraculous technology of the near future there is something that cannot be provided by advanced robotics. History.
History is more than just a timeline of events. It’s the impartation of life’s energy. Let’s face the facts. Life as we know it is finite. When someone expends the blood, sweat and tears needed to create anything they are imparting their life.
The image above is the dashboard of a 1929 Ford pickup truck. The curved surfaces were designed by a human mind. The raw ore was mined by men who certainly expended sweat and blood in the mine. The steel plate was probably stamped out by hydraulic equipment operated by human hands and intelligence. Someone then did the final polishing and another person installed all the little gizmos inside.
Yes. This antique dashboard is more than just conveniently shaped chrome and steel embedded into wood. It’s a whole collection of lives and stories. It’s the human experience forged into something that is functional art.
No matter how sophisticated the automation software is. No matter how accurate the fabrication robots are. The one thing it can never impart during the process is life.
Your writing, your art, everything you do is an impartation of your life. That includes the time you take to visit my images and read my writing. Thank you dear followers for sharing your life with me. It’s a gift that is graciously received.
Image was taken at the West Virginia state Fairgrounds in Lewisburg West Virginia which is in Greenbriar County.