Forever Young Information

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I’m no longer smart enough to drive a car

By William Thomas
December 30, 2015 - 0 comments

If you’re over 60 years of age with the wheel of a 2015 car in your hands, you need three things. First, the technical know-how of the late Steve Jobs. Second, the patience of Job. And finally, a larger vocabulary of swear words because I’ve completely worn out mine.

I remember sitting in the passenger seat of my new Subaru Crosstrek on delivery day as a 20-something, sales support guy reviewed the car’s accessories while sitting behind the wheel. I already knew that this car had approximately 150 doodads, which I would never understand or need, but I decided to humour him anyway. 

He hit a couple buttons over our heads, demonstrating that the moon roof can go either back or up. He ignored my request to hold both buttons down to see if the window would go back and up at the same time, which I said would be “way cool,” in an attempt to speak his language.

Then he hit “Dual” and showed me how I could share the heat and air conditioning features with a person in the passenger seat like I don’t already have enough issues with a certain, designated backseat driver. Then he mentioned something about a “blue tooth” so I made a mental note to check the manual for some sort of on-the-road dental coverage.

I heard “hands free”, which I dismissed as a dangerous way to drive and “pre-collision braking”, which I thought was a rather pessimistic way of thinking. I swear he said something that sounded like “cloud storage” and I thought great, maybe now I really can catch a falling star and put it in my pocket ... with the moon roof open of course, not up. When he got around to the “Starlink infotainment system” he had to nudge me because by then I was asleep.

As I sat there looking at 25 things that flashed or pinged in what he referred to as the “cabin,” I thought - what the hell did I buy? I mean on the outside it looks like a small SUV, but on the inside it’s actually the control centre for Spectre, the evil global empire James Bond must destroy in a movie that should have a “Nap Intermission” at the three-hour mark. It was as if I got a late night, emergency call from NASA and instead of laughing at their request I heard myself saying: “Yeah sure. I can drive your rocket up to the space station for you. I’ll need a case of Red Bull and a pee cup.”

That’s when he delivered the straw that broke the Crosstrek’s roof rack – “the birthday app which records the dates of birth of family and friends so that on those days, when you turn on the ignition, the audio system plays “Happy Birthday” as a reminder.

“Delete it! I don’t want it. If I’m reminded of someone’s birthday, then I gotta get a card and buy a gift.  No, get rid of it!”

Now nine months and 10,000 miles later, I still have no clue as to how this stuff works and my clock is still an hour ahead of Daylight Savings Time because there’s no reset stem on my digital “time screen.”

Yesterday I pressed the bum warmer button on my console and a street map of Thorold came up on my Starlink infotainment screen.

It’s official, if you’re over 60 you are now not smart enough to operate a new car. The only upside of all of this is that after I asked a series of basic (read ‘stupid’) questions during my service appointment at Subaru Niagara, they invited me to be a contestant on a new TV show they’re sponsoring called: “Are You Less Technologically Skilled Than A Kid Who Still Wets The Bed?” Stay tuned.

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