I’m walking a very fine and very uncomfortable line here.
A few weeks ago, bought a Prius for her new commute. This was, it turns out, the root of the problem.
The Prius, you see, is quite a well-equipped little number. You’d think a high-tailed humming eco-box would have all the amenities of an organic veggie salad. But you’d be mistaken.
Instead, this thing is all kinds of tricked out, doodad-wise. There’s a heads-up display. Built-in GPS. XM radio, free for a few weeks, at least. It’ll Bluetooth pair with a phone and take calls and play music and probably a whole bunch of other stuff. If you finagle your phone right, the car even comes with apps like Pandora and OpenTable you can fiddle further with.
“You’d think a high-tailed humming eco-box would have all the amenities of an organic veggie salad.”
My wife drives this nifty piece of kit to and from work every day. It’s a modern technological marvel. Past the actual steering-and-braking-and-making-the-car-go sorts of things, she’s figured out how to use about twelve percent of the fancy computer doohickeys. I’ll get back to that in a second.
Meanwhile, I’m commuting in our Nissan Maxima. It’s a few years old; we bought it used when an SUV pulled out in front of me a couple of years ago and mangled our last Maxima beyond recognition.
(I got airbagged. It was kind of awesome.)
Now, Maximas are no Soviet-era crapmobiles — and I love my car. I do. But I’m working a couple of generations behind here, and my wife’s car is beating the bejeesus out of mine in the tech department. That’s not cool.
I say this only because I’m the “tech guy” in our household. I deal with the computers and the TV remotes and anything with a screen or wires or “beepy-boopy noises” that can lead non-technophiles to run crying into the closet and screaming that they’ll “damned well come out when we turn Amish“.
Some non-technophiles. Allegedly. Ahem.
So that’s my job around the house. And let’s be frank here — it’s the only household chore I’m really any good at. I don’t dust. My dishwashing is decidedly subpar. And not only do I not “do windows”, I couldn’t even tell you what it is that people who “do windows” are actually doing when they “do windows”.
The point is, if I’m not programming a TiVo or coercing a laptop to pick up the wireless signal, I’ve got nothing. And my wife is now physically soaking in a mobile gadgetmotronic hot tub for an hour back and forth, five days a week. She’s practically pruny with technology. Some of it has to soak in. It has to. And then I’m cooked.
See, I don’t care if she has a car that goes faster. (It doesn’t.) Or revs higher. (No.) Or looks cooler. (Oh, please, it’s a Prius.) All of those would be fine. But if she’s got more cool tech — and figures out how to use it? I could well be out on the street. I’m only contributing one thing here. If the car teaches her how to stream music from the cloud or search old emails, she’s not going to need me any more.
(I know, right? Who’d have thought a woman could ever replace a man with a gadget of some kind? Inconceivable.)
And so, I’ve walked that uncomfortable line I mentioned. Every once in a while, I show her how to do something fancy in the car. Last week, it was fiddling with the HUD. A couple of days ago, creating custom Pandora channels. Because I’m helping! I’m still necessary. At any moment, there could be scary buttons that need pushing.
But I know that any one of these tricks could be the one, the gateway that makes it all click in her head and driver and machine become one and suddenly she’s Skypeing over the Prius’ satellite uplink and crunching fuel economy metrics on an odometer-enabled Raspberry Pi soldered under the gas pedal. And where will I be then?
Probably living in my car. So at least I’ll be glad again then to have the Maxima. Have you seen the back seats in those Prii? Cramped. Maybe if they’d spent more time on legroom and less on turning my wife into Judy freaking Jetson, I wouldn’t be in this mess.Permalink | 1 Comment