I share duties bringing the kids to their schools, which are a 20 minute drive apart. It takes about an hour in the morning, and the same in the afternoon for the entire round trip home again. Eats up a big chunk of time in the day. Bus service is scarce here, and worse this year as there is a shortage of bus drivers, so more parents have to drive their kids to school, which creates a worse traffic problem at peak times. (I asked my son if I should be a bus driver, and he say “No way Dad. I can’t tell my friends that my Dad is a school bus driver.” That ended that dream. Sorry Jon (a friend of mine who drives a bus.)
At those peak time, traffic is literally backed up for miles, and it’s because there are 3 stoplights that separate the 3 upcountry towns from the 4 lane going into the main city. One thing I have to say about Maui drivers, they are polite, and always, I mean always, stop and let cars in the lane from the side roads or merging. May not always make the person behind them happy, but nice if you trying to get in. I have always looked stoplights and miles ahead when driving. I even scour the parking lot I am going to before I even turn in to see the traffic pattern and all available open spots. I think that’s a good driving habit. My bad one is that I really judge bad drivers, or at least ones that don’t live up to my expectations. I am trying to get over that.
This morning, as I was slowly moving from stoplight to stoplight, there is always an odd driver blocking your way to getting through the next one. These are the people you wonder why they are on the road at that time. It is obvious they don’t need to get anywhere at a specific time like everyone else. They just slow the whole thing down. I pictured it all from above, and thought of ants, heading to food and the nest, food and the nest, food and the nest.
I have a lot of ants where I live now. They just appear out of nowhere. I left my breakfast plate on the counter this morning, and after my shower, it had ants all over it. I just walked into my daughters bedroom, and the place was covered with ants. Apparently the air conditioner I installed yesterday imported ants from the place I got it. I sprayed the room and closed the door. Going to be a cleaning project later. Maybe the two families of ants will get in a big fight, and destroy each other.
After looking at the ants, I decided they aren’t a good description for the traffic flow. Too disorganized and scurrying everywhere. Would be like if we had no roads, and drivers going to work just headed out on big open fields. So I decided on Sheep.
Mindless of their fate. One in front of the other, the speed of one determines the speed of the other. Occasionally, one with self awareness (like the one in the picture) knows what’s happening, tries to break free, runs from the crush, and for a brief instant is unfettered. That incident on the road might end in road rage, an accident, or at the least, a ticket.
As you look and study the nameless faces in the numberless cars around you, all facing the same direction like being at a movie, you think how little has changed since Henry Ford produced cars for the sheep, I mean masses.
.Is this then our fate for the next 100 years. You can be sure it isn’t.
Hawaii probably has more Tesla’s than any state. People here are very aware of the environmental impact of combustion, and moving towards being totally green. Futurists say that in 15 years, if a better battery storage system is developed, gas burning cars will be a thing of the past. Except for collectibles, which I’m beginning to think no one collects anything anymore. So everyone is in an electric car. Big deal. You just can’t hear the car as you sit in traffic.
But technology being what it is, the self driving car will also be as commonplace then as ants are on my counter now. Does that mean you just tell Alexa or Google you want to be picked up at 7:00 for your ride to work, then again at 5:00 to get home? The computer will know the traffic flow and ride time estimates, so even if a few other people clamor in for their ride too, it won’t affect your arrival. It won’t be a regular car anyway. It may have pods for privacy, or rear facing seats (you don’t need to look ahead) so you can visit or do your work on a built in workstation. You may have a car in your garage, for going on errands, but your work commute will go smoothly. Every car will drive the same speed, and with shared rides, will lessen the traffic problem. It would be like being Donald Trump. “I need a ride to the airport. Call my chauffeur”. Who wouldn’t want to take the stress of the ride to work away.
Let’s not stop there, because you can’t stop progress. Flying cars are here now, and you may be picked up in a flier. Same theoretical process, only now on predetermined air routes to shorten yet the time. Now we are moving away from the sheep, and going back to a more organized ant infestation.
So that should take us the next 25 years or so to become reality. But what after that? What will be our form of transportation be in 100 years. I don’t think I will get to see it, but I know my kids will. I am excited for them. We know interstellar travel is on the doorstep, secrets of the universe will be discovered, huge leaps in human maximum lifespan is almost here now, jobs and work as we know it now will not exist.
If the human race can keep themselves from blowing themselves out of existence, just think of the things to come. My half full thinking is seeing the positive outcome, the better way of life, where everyone benefits. Sickness is no more, death is but a form change, all unknowns are known. Then again, maybe it’s the musings of a madman.
One thing is for sure. The human spirit is always looking for a better way. That’s the way humans are. I wonder if sheep and ants think that too.
A lot to think about as the car in front of me starts to move. If I can just get through one more light…………..