Ever since they passed the law forbidding the use of turns signals on cars in New Jersey, driving just hasnít been the same. Not that people signaled much before the law came into effect, but it just all seems so hopeless now. It makes me want to go out and invent an electric pin cushion or something equally beneficial to mankind to make up for it.
The whole world of road travel is being wracked by innovation. Itís hard to keep up, but let me give you a sneak peek at a couple of innovations.
In Massachusetts, they have found a way to recycle old toll booths (Old toll booths never die; they just fail to give receipts - Emerson). The Catholic Church there thinks it has found a way to get more people to go to confession. The reasoning is: if it were easier and less time consuming, more people would do it. So the Church has set up a toll booth area along Highway 20 (where market research shows the greatest concentration of sinners in the state, if not the country, or any country outside of Italy itself). If you need to go to confession, you simply drive up to one of the toll booths, where a priest is ready to hear your confession. All you do is hand the priest an iPod with your sins recorded on it, and he deletes them. No muss, no fuss, and itís all over in 30 seconds. Six priests, no waiting.
Oh, and then of course there is the penance card. The priest punches your card and hands it back along with your iPod.† The penance card lists all the mortal sins down one side, and the number of times youíve committed them along the top. All you do is look up which sin youíve committed the most times and you can find out your penance: one Hail Mary for the first offense, two Hail Marys and an Our Father for the second, and so on. It takes all the guesswork out of it, and makes the priestís job that much easier, too, because he doesnít have to actually listen to the all the sniveling and groveling that makes up his day.
Another brilliant idea whose time has yet to come is the new Japanese car, the Credenza. The Credenza has vision chips that allow it to lock in on the dotted white lines of highways. Combine this with cruise control, and you have an afternoon to yourself in the comfort if not the privacy of your own car. This has proven to be of great value on roads corrected for it, but around here, where white line painters sometimes miss, and where black lines alternate with white, and where merge lanes cause lines to cross, the Credenza would just appear to be a normal car, weaving drunkenly all over the road. This little beauty is only available in Japan and some of the lesser suburbs of Tblisi, but it is making a large impression.
On other cars.