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Pawnee Annie unravels mystique of a new car
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Fred and I bought some new wheels last year.
We like the car. It drives well. It fulfills its purpose.
But, in many ways, it’s still a mystery to both of us!
It’s full of gadgets. And most of all those do-dads are impossible to operate! They certainly were not required by Fred and me.  Our obvious conclusion is that technology has finally superseded its efficiency .
“Why do you say such a thing, Annie?” you ask.
“We are not driving a car. We are operating a dang mobile computer. The ONLY thing it doesn’t do is fly.”
While on our way to the movies recently with another couple, we tried to turn on the rear air for them. While fiddling with every control and touch activation possible, we succeeded in activating the back seat heat air, full blast.
They sweltered while we fumbled with every control imaginable to turn off their heat and switch it to cool air. We punched and poked until, magically, the air came on! But we didn’t know what we did!
Not funny!
Don’t tell me we could have checked the “manual” either. That book is totally useless. It has to have been written by someone whose primary language is NOT English. Ambiguity flourishes in that book. The table of contents doesn’t even make sense.
Here are some of the problems we encounter daily.
Sometimes the vehicle beeps mysteriously when we get out. Sometimes it beeps twice. We have no idea what’s going on. Often, I return to the car, restart it, and then turn it off AGAIN. We do know that it is trying to tell us something….
This vehicle beeps if we do anything, right or wrong. Fred opens a door and the car dings, and the dash says, “Door ajar.”
Fred yells. I won’t tell you what he says!
We are continually warned not to text and drive. When we text, we take our eyes off the road, right? The trouble is, we cannot operate ANY extra features on this car without taking our eyes off of the road for a LONG time.
Sometimes we have to pull over.
The radio?
How we long for knobs; volume knobs, on and off knobs, station  and changing knobs. Alas, they are no more. We must scan for a station…and if the signal is not a pre-set station, then heaven forbid, the scan won’t easily find another.
Some of the controls work with the thumbs on the wheel. The cruise control, the up and down speed — pretty cool. I got that.
The left hand controls are well, let’s say, unattainable. While speeding down the highway at 66-70 miles per hour, I might glance at the choices; Display Mode, Trip 1, Trip 2, Fuel Economy, Driver Assist, (Traction Control, Rear parking, Trailer Sway) Setting, (DTE calculation), Easy entry controls, lighting, locks, auto lock)..
And as for the right hand controls?
So, when possible, we refer to the easy, simple, nothing-to-it, manual.
The Audio System section which explains how to work just the AM-FM is 16 pages long. I kid you not.
The SYNC chapter which dovetails into the details on how to use all the bells and whistles is 123 pages long.
Page 402 shows a highlighted area which says this: Warning. Driving while distracted can result in loss of vehicle control, crash, and injury. We strongly recommend that you use extreme caution when using any device while taking your focus off the road.  
No kidding!!
Fred says, “ Oh what I would give for my 56 Packard!”
No wonder guys flock to the car shows’ displays of the older cars.
Those were the days, my friends!
“Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.