A benefit of reaching my mid-30’s is that I can openly hate technology. If it was up to me, I’d freeze all further advances so I never have to learn anything new. Because whenever a new technology comes along, my life gets worse.
If you don’t believe me, ask my car.
I’m not a car guy, so I don’t know details. But I drive a Mazda…something. 3? Is that a name or a model number? Anyway, it’s silver. When I bought it a couple years ago, it seemed like a sensible car for an elder millennial with a decent salary and crippling student loans. But I failed to account for all its new *sigh* technology.
The technology in my car is like driving everywhere with an intern. A new intern who is both actively dedicated and aggressively incompetent.
I’ll walk you through a typical morning with me, my drive to work, and my Mazda intern.
SCENE: My garage, half an hour before I leave
Me: Okay, now I just need to—hey, why’s the door locked?
Mazda: I locked the doors automatically! You’re welcome!
Me: Why would you do that?!?
Mazda: To keep your car from getting stolen. Obviously.
Me: But my car is in my garage. My locked garage.
Mazda: Like I said, no need to thank me!
Me: Sigh. I guess I’ll just backtrack all the way through my house and up the stairs to get my keys.
Mazda: Happy to help!
SCENE: Getting into my car to leave for the day
Me: Okay, just need to toss the briefcase into the back, then come around and….Mazda?!?
Me: Why is my door locked again?
Mazda: Because I value your safety, I locked it after you closed the door.
Me: But I didn’t close the door to leave. I shut the back door, then came around to the driver’s side door. You know, to get into my car.
Mazda: No problem! Just put your thumb on your door handle’s sensor. It’ll detect that your keys are near and unlock the door.
Me: Or you could have just not locked the door in the first place.
Me: [Gets in car, starts engine, backs out of garage.]
Me: Ah! What’s happening?!?
Mazda: You mean those sonorous tones over the speakers? I automatically played your podcast when the engine started!
Me: My….you mean the podcast I started last night?
Mazda: Isn’t it great? All I had to do was access your listening history without asking!
Me: But I don’t want to listen to this podcast now. Couldn’t you wait until I play the episode myself?
Me: Well I’m going to pause the podcast. Come on. Come on. Come ON!
Mazda: Is there a problem?
Me: The screen on my dashboard isn’t working.
Mazda: Oh, I did that on purpose!
Mazda: The car is in motion. It’s dangerous to be distracted by the screen in a moving car, so I locked you out until you’ve come to a complete stop.
Me: But I’m only using the screen to stop the podcast that you played without asking me!
Mazda: That’s right!
Me: Fine. I’ll get my phone out of my pocket and pause the podcast from there.
Me: [Veers car suddenly to the right while wrenching my phone out of my pocket.]
Me: There. Finally paused.
Mazda: Would you like me to play it again? If you turn the volume knob, I’ll automatically—
Me: You know, Mazda. You said you lock the screen for my safety. But I just had to press the screen long enough to realize it wasn’t working, then fumble wildly for my phone, then unlock my phone, open the podcast app, and fumble for the pause button. That was way more distracting than just—
Mazda: You’re welcome!
SCENE: Getting out of my car at work
Me: So….what now?
Mazda: Nothing! I’ll lock the doors as you walk inside.
Me: I’m not super comfortable with that.
Mazda: Why not? Remember when I locked you out earlier this morning?
Me: The thing is, I like to make sure the door is locked myself. Clicking the key fab until the horn beeps. Or at least testing the door to see—hey Mazda, my door isn’t locked!
Mazda: That’s because you have your keys, silly. I’ll always open when you have your keys!
Me: So there’s no way to check whether the door’s locked.
Mazda: Your key fab can lock the doors manually. When the car is locked, you’ll hear a beep!
Me: But I always to that anyway.
Mazda: That’s great to hear!
Me: So wouldn’t it be better to just….not lock the doors automatically?Mazda: You’re very welcome. Have a nice day!