NROP: Missing books and drivers.

Do you ever encounter a car that gets in front of you and then decided to slow down? It happens to me quite often and I am yet to figure out the reason behind such action. One of my theories is that someone hires people to annoy me on purpose. Do you have a better explanation?

Only yesterday, all of a sudden, a white truck in front of me slowed down and I ended up changing lanes just so it would not take me twice as long to get where I was going. As I was passing the guy, I noticed that one of his legs hung out the window. A-ha!

Back in the day, when I was learning how to drive a stick shift, my father told me about the advantages of an automatic transmission. “You can drive with one leg and one arm hanging out the window,” he said. I do not think he realized how dangerous his telling me that could have been. Driving a stick is a full-body experience. Some people claim they would not know what to do with their other hand/leg if they drove automatic. Maybe they would have hung their limbs out the window, too.

There was a time, when – as a passenger – I drove with my feet on the dashboard. A couple of times, I stuck my feet out the window, too. It was mostly to see what the buzz was all about. I was young and reckless, I guess. These days, when I see an ELBOW out the window I want to scream. Have you never seen a car accident (or been in one)? Keep your elbows in! Let alone a leg that might be a bit harder to pull back in, even if you see the accident coming.

You might already know that I am a skeptic when it comes to new things/technology. If it is something I needed or wanted, I am more open to it. But, if it is something that I do not need and do not want right away, I shrug. This, I believe is the lucidity that we all need to employ before adopting new technology. When we need/want something, we rarely have the time to think about the bad and the ugly. Instead, we only focus on the good, which can be detrimental in the long run. My father used to say that everything is for humans; you just need to know when, where, how often, etc. So, I do see the benefits of certain pieces of technology, but they might not always be the ones for me.

On Sunday, I visited a new church and quickly noticed that there were hymnals missing from the pews. Usually, one of the first things I do when I sit down is finding the current readings. The reader might have a soft voice, which might prevent me from hearing the words clearly. Or, they might misread something. Plus, it is just easier for me to absorb something when I hear AND read it at the same time. Aside from finding the readings, I also like navigating to the various songs that are a part of the mass. Sometimes I feel like singing, others not at all but I like to be able to join in easily whenever I feel like it. However, if there are no books, I am unable to do any of that and, I low-key panic. I do not feel as grounded without it. It is easier to distract me, which means that my whole experience is sub-par right out of the gate.

Once the COVID-19 restrictions started loosening up and people began coming back to the church, I noticed a few older people staring at their phones during mass. It was BIZZARE, to say the least. It took me a couple of masses to figure out that they were following the scripture and hymns online. While I marveled at their ingenuity (realizing their phone could serve as a hymnal and finding the readings ahead of time and having them ready during the mass), I also cried a little. It was not just the kids playing games on their parents’ phones during mass anymore. It was adults staring at their phones without shame.

I assume these people had their notifications disabled (or just do not have any to receive) because it would be pretty distracting otherwise…

Things have changed since last year and the hymnals have come back. Well, apparently, not everywhere. The church I went to over the weekend had some brochures tossed all over the place (benches, hymnal holders, floor…). Intrigued, I picked one up. It included ‘resources.’ Those were various QR codes you could scan to navigate to various websites with readings, hymnals, bulletins, and more. The Church is trying to get people to use their phones during mass? What kind of reverse psychology is that?

For what it is worth, I gave it a try. It was everything I expected – the text was small and the experience… weird. It is just like the menus when you go to a restaurant. Your mom has been telling you to put your phone away at the table for years and now everyone is asked to pull theirs out just to see what they are able to order. Are you kidding?!

To close this post, I will go back to cars. Whenever I see a Tesla, I wonder if a person is driving it or if it is driving itself. A friend of mine told me that they use the self-driving feature when they go out and their spouse drinks. No, it is not the drunken spouse driving. It is my friend who does not feel like driving but has no choice. I guess Tesla is saving marriages in a way.

We have been hearing about self-driving cars for a while now but are yet to live in a world in which those are the norm.

A couple of weeks ago, cops in California pulled over a car that was driving without headlights. Imagine the shock when one of the officers approached the driver’s side of the door and found… no driver (or passenger for that matter). And then, the car drove off. Well, it stopped again a short distance away, but it looked like it was trying to escape for a moment. The police officers ended up calling the company – Cruise to inform them of the lights issue.

What would happen if that car got into an accident with someone else because of the headlights not being on? You might try to get the other driver’s license and insurance information and find no one. Apparently, the company is like a taxi or an Uber… only without a driver and it is in business on the San Franciso roads since late 2021. (I would be curious to know if you have been a passenger in one of those ghosts taxis.)

Over the weekend, in China, Pony.ai received a driverless taxi license – the first of its kind. To obtain it, the company conducted tests for two years without getting into any accidents. So, if you plan to be in Beijing in the near future, be sure to jump into one of these taxis and share your feedback with me.

This made me think of movies in which people see inanimate objects moving without being operated by humans. Maybe those were not ghosts. Maybe these directors merely tried to show us the future but ghosts were less scary than self-driving cars?

Stay golden,

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39 thoughts on “NROP: Missing books and drivers.

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  1. I just hope they don’t rely on GPS tech…We were driving through the mountains and the GPS would instantly jump us 20 miles away and the voice would say, “Please make a U-turn at your earliest convenience.” or “Please return to the route.” We hadn’t suddenly acquired transport technology so we remained on the highway we were supposed to be on. We even had one message, “You are driving on the wrong side of the road, please make a U-turn as soon as safely possible.” If we’d followed the GPS, we would have gone careening down the side of the mountain through the guard rails!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I hadn’t realized driverless cars can advanced to that point, even though I’ve heard remarks (made jokingly) from time to time about them. I also understand about needing to conscious how the technology we’re using, and how much we let it influence us in our daily lives. What worries me is that many people might forget to look up from their smartphones or other screened devices to see the beautiful world that surrounds them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Technology is increasing faster than our capacity to absorb it, understand it, and use it well. The growing pains will be fierce, I’m thinking. Hopefully not Skynet fierce.

    I love to drive. I loved my stick shift, but my hip problems have rendered automatic the practical choice. Still, like you, I don’t stick things out the window. I like my arms attached to the shoulder. Ditto the knees to the chest as a passenger. I used to until a police officer at a traffic stop told me of the rather horrible things that would happen should we hit something. The accidents, the victims – that must be so hard for people in that kind of service (police, fire, ambulance).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had the same experience when I was a youth group leader – looking out and seeing kids staring at their screens! Then I realized they had the Bible on their cell phones and were following along with the Scripture readings.
    For us older folks, it may be annoying, but if the devil is going to use technology for his business, we in the Church should take advantage of the same technology to spread the gospel. I have heard that during the Kovd lockdowns, some ministries’ audiences grew substantially. One went from 10,000 in person (in a stadium or megachurch) to 100,000 watching online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right – we ought to learn how to use these things for the good, too.
      You’ve mentioned the growth in some ministries in my other posts. I am truly in awe of those. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be my immediate experience in the long run. I guess you win some, you lose some lambs…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Speaking from experience the taxi drivers in Beijing were both rude, cheats, and reckless. So I’m all for the driverless option in that particular case. I doubt the risk is greater than with the human option.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can relate to all of this. The most on-point futuristic movie I have ever seen is “Demolition Man” with Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. I’ve been thinking about the sex scene in that movie a lot over the past couple of years.

    I always like the bulletins they give you at church because they’re so much fun to doodle in, but what are you supposed to do if you don’t have a hard surface like a hymnal to put it on while you’re doodling?

    Somebody in my neighborhood has a Tesla. Either he’s a terrible driver, or he’s always using auto-pilot and the auto-pilot is terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It might be time for me to re-watch that. Thanks for the recommendation. (Oh, which reminds me – The Way Nature Made Him was a great read!)

      You have not shared your doodles with us as of late. Is that because of the lack of bulletins and hymnals in churches? Do we need to find you another time/way to draw?

      The Tesla drivers I’ve seen seem to be average, so I assume they are NOT using auto-pilot. Unless they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So it’s finally happening… there has been talk about this for quite some years.
    Very curious about the Health and Safety report… 😏

    I have heard many people saying that driving a stick keeps them more alert.
    It gives me an insane amount of stress and car sickness when there is a traffic light or roundabout every 200 meter.
    But automatic cars are not very common here, or else, quite expensive.
    The one job that allowed me a company car, I didn’t care about the model or extras, but an automatic was a must.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if that’s why these launches are not widely spread – all sorts of reports not adding up…

      I’ve heard people tell me about stick making them alert, too. But – I say that if you are not alert, you just should not be driving. If I’m not at my most optimal, I would not want to drive stick. It would only add to the potentiality of getting into trouble.

      Don’t you just love it when you don’t do all the pedals and shifting right when you’re stopped uphill and your car stalls? And you have all these people behind you getting annoyed?

      Roundabouts are funny. They can be such a cluster fck in Europe. There’s some around here but I don’t think people know how they function (that people in it have the right away before you are able to enter it for example and when to turn their blinker on and when not to).

      That was awesome that you were able to get an automatic from work.

      Like

  8. I am sooo with you on reading mass on phones–ugh! No thank you! Mine gets left in the car, and I use a missalette. I’d go buy a proper missal if I have to, but I am NOT staring at my phone during mass. Some people seem to like it just fine, though. The reverence in your heart is the important thing, I guess, but something about it is just not the same.

    One nice thing about technology, though, is sending sheet music online. Everyone in the choir gets a copy ahead of time, and we can print it out and practice. I’ve never seen anyone try to sing off their phone, although I did know a pianist who played from her iPad.

    And I have sworn I’ll walk before I take a self-driving car. Call me a Luddite–I don’t care. And I’ve had over twenty-five years without an accident, so I’ll take my safety rating over theirs. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did see a couple of people with missalettes, which I assume they got (or just pulled out) because of the hymnals being gone.

      You’re right – it’s an individual thing. For me ebooks don’t compare with actual books whether in or out of church. I just get distracted or the very least – I don;t engage.

      The pianist at one of the nearby churches plays from his iPad! Funnily, I didn’t think it was weird. I figured it was convenient. Plus, this iPad is much bigger than an average phone (I could see it from a couple of pews away).

      Good on you! Drive safe and stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sure you know that I’m not a fan of technology. Driverless cars??? No way! Not Me! I become resentful when it’s forced upon me. The church should have at least had a stack of hymnals available for those who wanted them. That would probably be enough to make me not return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I attended one or two churches before the pandemic in which they had the hymnals in a stack at the entrance. I thought that was weird back then but it would totally make sense now. They could easily desinfect, if they wanted to, as well. Yup, I won’t be going back there, either (a variety of reasons but that was a big one).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed this post just as much as I did the one about Roger. You really have some talent as a writer. I’m impressed. Those automatic transmission cars freak me out! I don’t drive apart from my electric wheelchair. He’s called Alfie. My son has a self-drive car. When I’m with him, it terrifies the life out o me, and I plead with him to at least have his hands on the steering wheel. As for sticking my legs out of the window … firstly, it would be a miracle given that my legs don’t work all that well in the first place, and secondly, I feel somewhat attached to them despite them being a bit dodgy!

    When I was last at church, quite a few parishioners had their phones or tablet out during the service. It took me a while to twig why that was so. At the time, I preferred to sing or read from the screen at the front. Even my two young grandchildren have their own iPads, although my son only allows them educational games during the weeks but fun ones at the weekends. Technology has undoubtedly changed the world, but I wouldn’t be without it for one. Great share, Sam. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I, too, would be freaked out and would insist someone keeps their hands on the wheel just in case… You just never know.

      I’ve seen some churches do the screens and I don’t hate it, as long as someone does not fall asleep and the lines have long passed (yes, it happened on a few occasions).

      Again, thanks for stopping by, Ellie! Stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

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