I’m envious of my automobile. This is a rare occurrence. Compared to my car, I’ve got it all.
Here’s the shortlist of things I have that my car does not: I’m alive. I own my car; my car owns nothing. I can drink coffee (gasoline anyone?). I can listen to Prince; my car cannot. I probably have a soul. If my car was alive, it would be green with envy.
There is, however, something that my car has that I covet and that I can never hope to attain – hazard lights.
Boy, do I wish I had some hazard lights.
Hazard lights, those red, twinkling beauties that let you do whatever you want, whenever you want. The ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. Sure, they were invented so that drivers in distress could alert other drivers of this fact. They were designed to be a safety feature, but human beings are curious creatures. We possess an uncanny ability to find unorthodox uses for devices that appear, at least on the surface, quite narrow in their application. For instance, we took a portion of the internet, which was created to increase the transfer of knowledge and communication, and turned it into a cyber-sewer vomiting hate around the world.
And so the hazard lights became the ultimate weapon of mass disruption. Want to block the bike lane? Need to pick up some dry-cleaning during rush hour when there is a “no standing” law in effect? Want to park in a disabled parking space? Go ahead, just don’t forget to put on your hazard lights.
If hazard lights were able to speak, they would tell other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, “I’m only breaking the law for a while.” In the mind of the driver who uses hazard lights, the unforgivable becomes the universally acceptable.
I encountered this attitude first hand last week.
I was parked between two cars, ready to reverse out. It was a simple move. I’d done it thousands of times. This time, however, was going to be tricky. There was a car parked horizontally behind me, perpendicular to my minivan. There was around seven feet between my car and that one. I tried to reverse out without scraping any of the cars next to me, but it was impossible. In order to pull out I’d need to execute a 542-point turn. I was trapped.
Fury boiled beneath my skin as bile and venom filled my spleen. I was about to unleash a heroic flurry of expletives when I saw red lights blinking on the car that had boxed me in. He had his hazard lights on.
That changed everything. What was once a shocking example of selfish inconsiderate behaviour was now no big deal. The magic powers of the hazard light had done their work.
Imagine for a moment that I had two red hazard lights implanted just above my ears. I could activate them by rubbing my nose. Imagine the possibilities!
Stuck in a really tiresome meeting, I rub my nose, turn on my hazards, lay my head on the table and go to sleep for ten minutes. It could be a career-ender, but no one minds, because I have my hazard lights on.
Someone is talking to me, and I’ve lost interest. I turn on my hazards and close my eyes. Normally, the speaker would be offended, but they see my hazard lights and don’t take it personally.
For now, such dreams will never be realized. But, as I’ve said, human beings are curious creatures. It was reported recently that some scientists wish to create human/monkey chimeras in order to better research a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. If people are willing to create a slave race of half-humans in order to “maybe” cure a disease, can human hazard-light implants be far off?
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