Besides the phone line you could call to find out answer to any question that I invented in 1986 – remind me to tell you this story – there’s one other big invention I’ve been working on for decades now. Car-to-car communication.
I remember sitting on the bus to school, in high school, watching the boring short ads and one-sentence news run across a ticker, when I got the idea. What if we put those on all cars, so we could send short messages to each other in traffic.
“Excuse me, coming through.”
“Need to get to turning lane”
“How YOU doin’?”
That’s what I really wanted to have the other night when I was driving on a highway with Son and Daughter in the backseat. Wife had stayed at home so we were rushing, too. I was just about to drive by this brown Citroën – [seat-row-en] – when I noticed that the door on the driver’s side of the Citroën was open. Not a lot, maybe just 15 centimeters, but still not just as if the door had been poorly closed.
Because I didn’t have a proper car-to-car messaging system in place, I wanted to get a little closer to the driver of the brown Citroën so that I could yell to him that his door was open. But when I got a little closer, he accelerated, and a car behind us was honking at me because our Volvo was now on two lanes. I moved to the right lane, behind the brown Citroën, and let the car pass us. With no car-to-car messaging system, I simply waved to the BMW driver, as an apology.
Then I accelerated again, because I could see that the Citroën’s door was still open. When I got closer, I could see that the driver was an Indian man, visibly upset that I was driving so close to them. The Indian woman sitting next to him stuck her tongue out at me!
Well, I made fierce pointing gestures to get them to realize that their door was open, and noticed that our Volvo was going back and forth the two lanes again. And then I realized that we came to a sharp curve. I hit the brakes, and turned the wheel all the way to the right, and just barely managed to avoid hitting the rail – although I am pretty sure I saw some sparks.
But we got home safe, and the brown Citroën went its way.
The next night, just as I was getting back home, our Volvo stopped some 200 meters from our house. And only when I got out of the car, did I realize how dirty and old it was, but I pushed it home, on my own, swearing the car to the lowest depths of hell every step of the way.
I never realized how much I dream of driving and cars when I’m out with a 39 degree fever. Or how strong I think I am.
(But the car-to-car messaging system idea is real. And it’s mine.)