When i was at uni my car was old,
a little manual 5 speed Mazda in various fades of blue.
If i wanted to overtake i had to plan well ahead
and be on the slower car’s tail exactly as the overtaking lane
veered out to the right
If the overtaking lane was on an ascent,
there was serious gear selection to consider
and timing was critical or i would simply press the accelerator
and get no reaction.
I used to make mixed tapes for long drives.
I had an old tape deck on the passenger seat
which had lost the face of the cassette insert
so I could just jam tapes in as I drove along.
They were better than coffee.
The interior light didn’t work and smart phones
weren’t around then so navigating new territory
in the dark was quite an adventure.
On the highway I would overtake all the big trucks
on the uphills but they would swoop past me
on the way back down.
I always made sure I indicated
to help them know it was okay to change lanes.
It was like early social media…
communicating with somebody I would likely never meet.
Once at a truck stop I heard a truckie
order his coffee with seven sugars.
I think he was on a tougher schedule than me.
I should have offered him a mixed tape.
Now we have a Tesla
It is quicker and more powerful
than some super cars
and will steer for me if i want.
If you asked me I am not sure I could
confidently tell you how to turn on the
windscreen wipers although i assume
its not that different to other cars.
The silent engine and no gear selection
mean speed indicators are minimal
so i glance at the screen
although i could just use cruise control
and sit at the steering wheel
i can ask Spotify for any song I want,
activate Sat Nav or make a phone call
without my hands leaving the steering wheel.
I love our Tesla. I love how clean it is and how clever.
But can I honestly still say that I drive?