Rudely awoken, again. The driver never allows me a moment to gather myself and prepare for an excursion before he’s jamming me into drive and forcing my cold engine to purr. It takes a minute to warm up when the ignition gets keyed, and for the first few miles I’m always distracted. Pulling out of the driveway, my cogs stutter but for a moment before I catch my performance slipping, and that always snaps me awake. When my owner starts starts me abruptly, I have to focus on heating up, because I’m a van with a massive engine. I’ve got no choice but to multitask, if just for a few minutes, before I start paying absolute attention to the road, unlike him. Him, with his autonomy and hands and the like, he never just texts his girlfriend after the ride. It’s infuriating. I think it’s about the time in the drive where he starts to eat his apple, and that always spells trouble. I can only hope he doesn’t play that game he plays when he forgets to take it out of his backpack before plopping into my seat. He sticks his knee right in the cleft of my steering wheel in order to keep us driving straight, right where it’s ticklish, and he leans back like a contortionist behind the seat to grab at that apple with half an eye forward. It always takes him forever too, and then a minute later he’s stuck at a red light for as long as it takes to make a pancake, plenty of time to grab anything in the backseat, and at a perfectly safe speed; 0 miles per hour. Speak of the devil; he’s doing it. He always seems to do it when I’m thinking about it, or maybe I’m just always thinking about it because he’s conditioned me like a Pavlovian dog. It’s rare I survive a drive without getting a knee down under, after all. Distrait driving seems so common though, and I make it a point to ask the other cars in the parking lot if their owners are just as guilty of endangering their lives. A unanimous yes, most of the time, and they all get to work and school everyday. So how dangerous can it really be? That always makes my oil boil, that our owners tout reckless and distracted driving as an the leading modern danger, but most of the time the cars come out more bruised than the people. I mean, we’re the ones who are actually getting hurt, the cars. That’s why it scares me so much, that our fate is in the hands of these uncaring, oblivious, and ultimately, distracted creatures. He’s about halfway to school, clenching his apple in his teeth to fiddle with his phone notifications, trivial things. If only there was a way to stop this horrible habit. A harness for the driver’s seat, one that locks down your arms when you turn start up the engine. Or a device that disables phones, and disintegrates food, and yells at the driver when they look away from the road. Or, perhaps a law? No that wouldn’t work, this guy doesn’t even buckle his seat belt. I suppose humans will always find a way to be distracted, unlike us machines. I can only hope one day they make a serum for distracted driving, get rid of the part of people that drives their imaginations and actions when confronted with tedium and a demand for patience. Let’s hope I’m still alive by the time it ex- The engine churned to a stop.
Perhaps the only way to stop distracted driving, is to empathize with the tools we sacrifice in the process.