The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some petty whining on my part

While driving through the panhandle of Florida, and the southern fringes of Alabama and Mississippi, I wondered about a certain invention that has made driving seem almost effortless. I am not talking about automatic transmissions or independent suspension here. I am talking about Cruise Control.

Cruise Control, while not that auto-pilot function found in planes and some (very expensive) large boats, saves the fatigue associated with having to maintain a more or less steady pressure on the gas pedal. A situation which gives rise to a condition we once called "deadfoot". After hours of highway driving, one would stop, get out, and notice one's right foot was sound asleep. It would have snored if it had nose and throat.

Nowadays, almost every car made comes with Cruise Control. Yet, I do not find that most drivers actually use it. My father never used his, for example, in the belief that he could get better gas mileage without it. He was probably right. In his case.  Having been a traveling salesman for 40+ years, always by car, he became "one with the machine"; he could "feel" the efficiency through his foot.

I, too, once felt that Zen "oneness" with my vehicles. Back in the days when I preferred standard shift transmissions and motorcycles. The car was an extension of my body. I have heard WWII fighter pilots express something similar when they talking about climbing into their planes as more like becoming a part of it than getting into it.

But I digress...

There are many drivers on the roads today that eschew the use of Cruise Control. I do not know their reasons but I can spot them easily enough. They are the ones who swiftly come up alongside you and then hang there in, or near, your "blindspot" where they become the "bitter clingers" or part of the "cluster." I have written of these before. The little clumps of cars traveling down the interstates; the herd instinct, perhaps, causing it.

I watch the non-CC drivers as they speed along to catch up to a cluster ahead of them when they find themselves alone (or almost alone) between clusters. And, just as they would pass the cars in the slow lane, reduce their speed (possibly unconsciously) to match the others.

These people are probably like the fans who follow The Grateful Dead around the country, or any devoted fans of any genre of music or film. You see them at Star Trek movies and conventions.

They simply must be part of the herd.


T.C. said...

I hate such drivers. They take away peace of mind.

What are you doing driving in and out of three states? This may sound strange, but I'm pulled by the romantic thought of driving through the deep south.

I don't know where it comes from. Part of it is having driven through places like Gerogia, the Carolinas, and Florida both in my youth and as an adult but I want to venture further west. Part of it, maybe, was watching 'Smokey and the Bandit' one too many times. Not that the scenes were breathtaking or anything. Like 'Dukes of Hazzard' which I believe was shot in Georgia.

Douglas4517 said...

 We were on our way to a wedding (Faye's niece) in New Orleans and so must travel through Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Traveling through the deep south is not what it once was. It's all interstate highway travel now, especially along the coastal areas. It was more fun using rural highways and much prettier scenery. But we're all in a hurry now, aren't we? And traveling at 70MPH things just whiz by.

T.C. said...

I reckon it's the same scenario as the North East.  I still use the scenic route through Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Less so with Massac. and Connect. Yeah, I'm lazy to finish off those words. Then again, the amount of time it took me to write this useless line more than wasted any time I planned to save.

Our drives to Delaware sometimes take the more scenic journey.

Yes, everything is a rush now. I try to reverse this fact.