Technology not

In the days before I had much money, I got myself a poor person’s cruise control on my car. In those days, I drove a 5-speed VW Rabbit and so I sweet-talked my brother, the mechanic, into installing a throttle lock.

embarrassed womanWhat the system consisted of was a gadget attached to the gas pedal and another line attached somehow to the brake. When you engaged the system, the gas pedal was locked into place. Pressing the brake released the lock.

This sounds like the sort of thing a person whose brain has not fully developed yet might try out. And that was the case.

Because the area where I generally drove was flat, the system worked adequately. I’d reach the right speed, lock in the throttle, and relax. My speed would shift with any ups and downs in the road but not much.

I was now in league with those fancy-schmancy cruise controls.

So one day my sister and I took off for Denver in my Rabbit. I don’t remember why she was driving but I do remember that we had a good-sized hill to clear on the route.

When I drove, I kicked off my throttle lock when I got to the hill.

My sister didn’t.

So up the hill we climbed. Gravity being what it is, our speed dropped. And dropped. 

Cars passed us. Lots of cars passed us.

We chugged our way to the top like the little engine that could.

And then we started down. We zoomed down the hill, flying past cars that had passed us like we were tortoises. Now we were the hare.

“Those people think I’m crazy!” my sister wailed.

Perhaps they did. But we got so far ahead of that pack we didn’t see any of them all the way to Denver. So it really didn’t matter.


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