Automate me, please



Recently I got a press release which discussed how our legislators are looking at new rules of the road for autonomous, or automatic vehicles. I honestly can’t wait for the day. I used to enjoy driving, but the older I get, the more it becomes a chore.

I am sure most of us have had the experience of driving somewhere and arriving in a part of the journey we didn’t realize we had reached; because we’d become so numb to the task at hand, that what we were doing was automatic.

Also, as a huge fan of reading, I would love to be able to read more, and having a car do the work, I could accomplish the goal of doing it more often. I don’t really expect to see it fully in place in my lifetime, even though I am only in my 50s, I suppose it could happen.

I have always been a fan of the science fiction and fantasy genre, though whether movies, television or, preferably, books. “The Jetson’s” was a favorite cartoon, as I imagined all the things the robot maid would be able to do for me.

Yeah, that too — a robot maid would be nice. Housekeeping is really not my thing.

If I lived alone I know it would be much easier; but with kids its’s a never ending and seemingly impossible task. Especially when you have a teenager that seems to think mom is the maid.

That’s partly my fault — letting the mess irritate me so much I would rather clean it myself than argue with the kid about it. I don’t imagine I am alone; and truthfully, did any of us ever really get why our mom’s harped on cleaning until we had our own place?

It’s that whole pride of ownership thing, partly; although my bachelor son certainly still doesn’t get it. Some personality types just don’t see the value in it, while others go overboard into the “neat freak” zone. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just not my thing.

Another thing I get bored with and almost wish was automatic was eating. I would like to just take a couple pills sometimes and have it over with — when I have more interesting things to do than cook or consume a meal just because I am hungry.

Not every time, because yes, some meals can be very enjoyable; depending on the company, but of course at this stage of life I eat alone a great deal.

My daughter, too, will be on her own next year or very shortly thereafter, and eating more and more often becomes something I do to keep my body from rebelling in faintness on the floor.

It is interesting to wonder what we will all do with our free time when life is more automatic, but my parents’ generation wondered about that too, when the industrial revolution introduced the washing machine, refrigerator and other modern conveniences.

But I am sure we will find ways to adapt — that’s what humans, survivors do — in the best of Darwinian fashion.

— Paula K. Schmidt

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