I’m going to miss the technology I can’t wait to get rid of

That scrappy little car was dinged up, scratched, and nonspecifically battered into a character all its own before we ever picked it up at the Athens airport. But once I figured out where reverse was, I gunned that spunky little engine (4, maybe 4.5 horsepower?) and we were off into the tzatziki swirl of Greek traffic.


Mandalay streets

Mandalay knew the rhythm

Cars coming in from the right, I’m bobbing left to pass then cutting out of the way of the speedracer trying for Dubai by nightfall, and the motorcycles sort of croon among the fray with their gaspy trumpets of unsavory exhaust and swoopy leaning turns. It was a big ballet of steel frames and plastic bumpers, scored by combustion engines and pleasantly restrained bips of horn, costumed by sunlight glints on hoods and side mirrors, and riding on warm Mediterranean wind blowing in the window to dance your hair.


I do my best not to drive in other countries. Shucks, I do my best not to drive at home either. But driving in Greece? That was fun. When I get a good car around me, the pull and shift of wheels and gears, making my strategic way through the breakdown of cohesion you get when we fallible humans are given such power, I admit it, it’s damn fun.


Cuba Havana traffic

I like driving, just not traffic

I enjoy driving.


And I can’t wait for autonomous, self-driven cars to take it away.


Of course, I personally should get to keep my normal car, but the masses around me ought to sit back and let google get them where they’re going. It will work out better for all of us that way. Because if there’s one thing I know about automobiles, it’s that humans are not yet ready for that kind of responsibility. Give us another millennium of evolution maybe, but for now we just can’t be trusted with such momentum and concussive force.


Yangon rickshaw men watch night traffic

Sit back and watch, boys

This is especially obvious to we cyclists. Google wouldn’t pull right in front of us, because google has exponentially more eyes to point at the bike lane, as well as in front and behind and around itself. We poor sad humans have a mere two sensors (sorta four if you count the ears, but those are busy listening to Adele). We just can’t handle three dimensional movement. There’s too much going on for our monkey gray matter. I saw we let the machines do it.


Will there be a loss of fun? Absolutely. But a reduction of tedious stress? Definitely. And a massive diminishing of danger? You betcha.


Malaysia dock bike

This Malaysian boy knows there’s plenty of thrill to be had without car keys

It’s like the end of the Wild West. Sure, after about the turn of the century you couldn’t ride around shooting your gun at whatever you felt like anymore, and I’m sure those days were a whole lot of fun. Target practice in the orchard? Why not! Until suddenly there’s a subdivision built behind it. But I for one am glad we got rid of that. (For the most part. Dangit.)


Taking away our steering wheels will be the same. I’ll miss the days of piloting my machine through the fray, but man I won’t miss the jackwad in the BMW who nearly ran me off the road yesterday, or the scatter-brained parent too busy raising a brood to signal, or the young fella who learned to drive from video games and doesn’t appear to comprehend how unsustainable that is.



Athens, the Acropolis, and the church across from our hotel


So please google, automate our Bay Area traffic. And if we ever feel the need to go roll those automobile dice again? Well, there’s always Greece.