Tuesday, 29 September 2015

And this is progress, how?

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Recently, two young women asked me to jump start their engine.

I'd like to say that's a euphemism but I mean it literally.  They were stuck just down the road outside my house having left their lights on all night and wanted me to jump their engine.

So, I pulled my car up to theirs, unlatched the bonnet (or 'hood', if you're reading this in the former colonies).  And stared.

I'm not totally impractical, although I'm better with houses than cars (have I mentioned my self-build book is available on Amazon?).  But, for the life of me, I couldn't even find the battery.

We used to drive a previous version of the same model and I've previously whipped the battery in and out at regular intervals, mainly because the alternator was dead and I was flogging the beast until it finally gave up the ghost.  But this space-age (well, 2012) update of the same vehicle had had its mechanical innards covered with molded plastic.

I eventually located two unspecified terminals poking out of the side of the molding.  On checking the manual as to which was negative and which positive it simply told me to leave the whole caboodle alone as it was far too complex for my small homo sapien brain to comprehend and that anything to do with the battery - or any thing else - should be left to a qualified mechanic.

For a car battery. Ye Gods.

When we got the new car we still had the old for some time.  I remember holding up the key to the old (traditional design, sits in your palm or pocket quite comfortably) against the new (an unwieldy 'keycard', dimensions of The Little Book of Calm but thinner, although equally stress-inducing) in a restaurant, railing "And this is progress - how?"

This isn't isolated; it's a direction of travel misnamed progress.

I'm firmly of the belief that, if and when the balloon goes up, any medieval child would survive - catching rabbits, making its own shoes - whilst we would starve, staring at a tin can, opener-less, like an abandoned cartoon cat and wondering whether our coffee-shop loyalty cards are still valid.

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