Along the Trail: Mir­ror

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - CHUCK THOMP­SON

“Ob­jects in mir­ror are closer than they ap­pear.” I can’t re­mem­ber the first time I saw that warn­ing on my pas­sen­ger side mir­ror but it was a long, long time ago. I’m not sug­gest­ing it dates back to dim­mer switches on the floor or din­gle balls on the rear-view mir­ror but it’s been awhile.

I strug­gle with the idea that things are not what they seem. We have in­vented elec­tric cars, hy­brids, turbo charged en­gines, and the mini­van. North Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ers have been rel­e­gated to sec­ond class mak­ers of au­to­mo­biles. There was a time in this fair land when a Cadil­lac was the sym­bol of suc­cess. It meant you had made it. Now it is all about Lexus’s, BMW’S, and Porches. No one gawks at my 2011 Ford Ranger truck.

In this year of 2017, the same mes­sage ap­pears on all new cars even though we now have au­to­matic every­thing, from trans­mis­sions to heated seats. Yet no one can fig­ure out how to tell you things are where they should be when you glance to the star­board. I find the reminder of lit­tle com­fort when I pass some­one and won­der, ‘Can I pull in yet?’. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when you look to the pas­sen­ger side win­dow the car be­hind you is ex­actly where it seems to be? I mean, this is not duck hunt­ing. Camo and dis­tor­tion should not be the goal.

Think of all the many items that have come along in the past thirty years or so and yet all rear view mir­rors carry the same ba­sic mes­sage - care­ful, it is not where you think it is. Ok, then where is it?

In the in­ter­ven­ing years since the warn­ing ap­peared, we have seen the rise of the iphone, the ipad, lap­tops, Tim Hor­ton’s, fall straw­ber­ries, and the crush of so­cial me­dia. So much time has passed even the Leafs have gained re­spectabil­ity. The corn broom has dis­ap­peared from curl­ing. Clump­ing kitty lit­ter has been in­vented for which Socks and I give thanks. It doesn’t have to be big to be im­por­tant.

Get in a new car to­day and it is a lit­tle like step­ping into the cock­pit of a Boe­ing 737. There are lights ev­ery­where, the in­stru­ment panel is a vis­ual dis­play of so many ar­rows, icons and blink­ing and ding­ing that you are scared to touch any­thing for fear you may be ejected from your seat. I can’t count how many times I have popped the trunk try­ing to open the lit­tle gas lever that is buried down by the driver’s seat. You need three weeks of yoga les­sons to be able to bend enough just to get your gas tank to pop open. I have that part per­fected now and pre­tend to be look­ing for some­thing in the trunk when I hit the wrong lever. Adap­tion is the key.

Life as we know it is mov­ing on at a fast pace, change is the one con­stant. Ex­cept for “Ob­jects in mir­ror are closer than they ap­pear!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.