Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I don’t know if it goes for all models, but this particular model Bart comes with an auto-pilot. It allows me to mentally drift away to other places and events in my head, while still keeping the right course and avoiding any collisions with objects, buildings or people. Or for instance to converse with my fiancée while driving a car: my auto pilot even takes care of saying ‘yes dear’/ ‘no dear’ at the right moment.
It does have some drawbacks however. It seems to work with predefined tracks towards regularly frequented destinations that are stored in my memory. When I go to the backer’s, I take this street. If I want to go to the nearby supermarket, I turn left at the corner and take the underpass at the subway station. But I can’t count the times that I actually wanted to go somewhere else, but ended up in front of the backer shop or the supermarket. I can tell you it is very annoying when you ‘wake up’ when the shop lady asks you what kind of bread you want, while you’re kitchen closet is stuffed with bread, you don’t have any money on you and you get a very red face when suddenly realising what a moron you are. If I inadvertently switch from one track to the other, the system gets confused and I can end up anywhere but at the right place.
Yesterday, for instance, I took the escalator in a shopping mall, going from the electronics shop at 4th floor (that’s the fifth for Americans) to the exit at the ground floor. The auto pilot guided me safely from one escalator to the other, avoiding advertising panels and people moving in front of me. When there were no more escalators, it woke me out of my daydream involving my fiancée, our wedding night and some nice lingerie I saw passing the third floor. I couldn’t find the exit and it took me a few seconds before I realised I had ended up in the basement. Ooooh, the shame when you have to take that escalator back up!
Auto-pilot Mode isn’t good for my social life either, especially when combined with Pondering Mode. This is when I start to have deep thoughts about philosophical questions, the purpose of the universe, how to establish world peace, how to end world poverty and how my fiancée would look on our wedding night in that nice lingerie I saw when passing the third floor in the shopping mall. At such a time, my higher brain functions are completely cut off from the outside world, which means I effectively put my life in the hands of the auto-pilot. At such a time, I’m completely oblivious to anyone calling me, even repeatedly. Until they get so annoyed with me ignoring them that they start to yell my name out loud.
One day, this thing will make me loose a friend, or my life.