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Zen and the art of parking

Our cars are packed with technology, and while some of it is neat, some are silly and even insult our intelligence.

A small example: the ability to park your car automatically, parallel or perpendicular parking.

First, it’s hard to believe that anyone actually uses it. Why would someone with parking bother? When you’re messing around with everything, you might already be in. I never tested this feature on the press car, because who cares. It exists on a personal vehicle and has not been used there either. Sadly, part of my car’s purchase price had to be paid for it.

So I don’t know if it actually works, but let’s assume it works excellently. It’s still a minor insult.

The scariest part of a DMV driving test? Parallel parking. And rightly so, because what are the majority of new drivers that fail? Parallel parking. What do some drivers with years of experience still seem to have trouble with? Parallel parking. Unfortunately, some people aren’t even particularly good at getting between the lines of a perpendicular space.

Your answer might be, hey, that’s the argument in favor of this feature: This is a task that some people struggle with, and it’s a great technological solution to their problem. But it is not a solution – it facilitates their problem, allowing it not to be solved.

JFK calls for doing things “not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.” Automated parking is making it easy for you to get out.

Why parallel parking even in driving tests? Because it reveals whether the driver has good control over their vehicle; have spatial awareness of the vehicle’s dimensions and its surroundings; and that they understand the geometry involved in manipulating it. Park the car to test the capacity and mastery of the machine. If a driver can’t manage a small, low-speed parking lot, how well will they perform at what they will encounter on the road?

Maybe parking and other driving duties are useless, but they are also a privilege.

This came to mind because I was training a teenage driver, and one of the hardest lessons for her was the concept that the rear wheel is the turning point for close-ups. This also applies to turning off, avoiding the curb, not running over my sprinkler, etc., so it’s an important concept. She’s actually doing a great job driving on roads and highways, but until she can place a vehicle exactly within inches of where it needs to be, she’s still not fully in control.

This is a question of greater autonomy for the small automakers and tech companies that are competing to exercise autonomy, but so many of us don’t care. How much Automatic log readers can freely cede control of their media… in any way, ever? You love to drive, and for a small part of that, you can be proud of your parking skills. Maybe self-driving features, or fully or less functional self-driving features like these, will one day come into play and provide us with safer roads (or in this case, dumps). parking the car?). But they stole something from us.

Parking offers a permanent set of new opportunities for life’s small victories. Every parking spot has its own problems, and even the most proficient drivers sometimes have to drop the first try and try again. If you like to do Wordle or NYT Crossword, parking is another kind of fun puzzle to solve.

Maybe you’re a tech geek and you think it’s cool to push a button, get your car running in “Autopilot” mode or whatever and it all turns into magic. That can be fun for a while, but it will eventually come to fruition. A novelty, not an achievement. No your achievement, anyway.

Contrast the automatic parking button with another parking technology – front and rear sensors. It’s an absolute pleasure and here’s the difference: The sensors provide convenient information, but you do the manipulation. They don’t take control out of your hands.

We can start contact here about other technologies, such as Tesla Summon (geez, can’t you catch it a few steps?) Or automatic trailer backup. But it’s a niche market. Very few drivers need to reverse the tractor; Everyone needs to know how to park.

Automakers would dream of all kinds of features if we paid for them. Sometimes I wish they would stop. How much longer before we no longer have to do anything ourselves, before there are no more challenges to rise to? No gearshifts, no looking over your shoulder, no closing speed monitoring, no worries about parking. A life of complete convenience. Like that spaceship full of bulky, cuddly passengers in Pixar’s “Wall-E.”

Driving, including how you park, should not be taken lightly. Anything you do behind the wheel is a risk to yourself and others. It’s serious. But it makes you feel alive.

Maybe parking and other driving duties are useless, but they are also a privilege. In Zen practice, chores are a form of meditation. They are the path to enlightenment. No action is too small to be done with humility and care. A smartly executed parallel parking job feels good, doesn’t it? It’s a small, shimmering moment when you apply your mind and skill and succeed.

We need more of those moments, not less. Why press a button and delete one of life’s little pleasures?

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