Of cars and people…

The is a book out there called “Pale Blue Dot”, by Carl Sagan.  I do like this book, but mostly for the science in it.  I try to ignore the political and eco-political parts.

But in the book, he makes and observation that has always stuck with me, especially when I am on the freeway or highway, driving to some place that might happen to be important to me, or to my wife that we be there.

He makes the arguement that if an intellegent alien race should find us and observe us, especially the northern American continent.  Should they decide they wish to meet the dominant species on this blue-green planet, they would more than likely introduce themselves to a car.

He says that from afar, they would watch as cars zip to and fro, and everywhere they go, these parasites climb into them and they take off again, seemingly to try and get rid of these parasite.  Finally stopping as the infestation leaves, only to come back again.

OK… so such an alien race would have to be pretty thick to think such a thing if they had spent any decent amount of time watching us.  But the thought does make one stop and think about it for a moment.

Look at how many cars we, especially Americans, own.  Even many people that are not financially well off have at the very least one, and sometimes two cars.

Look at how cars have not only become an integral part of our lives, but also of our culture and our history.

There are movies about cars; cars that kill, cars that win races, cars in cartoons that talk, they appear in commercials telling us what gas to buy and what tires we should get for them.

One day, as the Bible is manipulated over time and through the natural flow of events, there may be an entry in there about a car.  It will read that Noah was in a Peterbuilt towing three trailers of animals while being chased by a Texas Highway patrol and his inbred son. (My apologies to Burt Reynolds and the rest of the Bandit team.)

In fact… as Americans, especially on the west coast where mass transit means waiting 45 minutes for a bus that takes an hour and a half to get across town… at least where I live… people almost cannot live without a car.  I am a good example of how having a car makes you lazy.

Driving, it takes me five minutes to get to work.  Five minutes.  If I were to walk, at a casual pace, I could make the trip in thirty minutes.  Why do I drive?  I have two healthy legs, I even have a 10-speed bicycle.  But I drive… because… I am lazy.  As are many of us.

We want to listen to our talk radio or music in the morning, we need to stop and get our coffee, bagel, McMuffin, etc… so we drive.

I am not scoffing those of us who do it, it is just who we are.

One day, evolution, yes… I said evolution… will adjust, and some poor baby will be born with little vistigial wheels on his or her feet, and the world will rejoice.

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