I was reading an effusive review the other day about the self-parking abilities of the new 5 Series, and I realized that I was getting old. This is not a complaint, it’s just a fact. Parallel parking was an essential part of learning to drive when I was growing up—particularly in London, where parking spaces were seldom delineated, so it was a matter of how many cars you could squeeze into a block.
Once I finally get used to driving north to reach Los Angeles, I’ll probably be less confused. I like the Los Angeles Auto Show because it always seems to have a certain Hollywood razzle-dazzle; but then, I tend to stay at the Hotel Figueroa—the Fig—because of its Byzantine décor, designed by somebody who obviously had close family ties with Cheech and Chong by way of Arp and Duchamp.
Interesting conversations abound when coffee-station talk turns to the inevitable, “So, what did you do over the weekend?” “Oh, the normal. Watched some sports and spent some good father-son time with the little guy.” “Sounds fun, and the weather was nice. You two go to the playground? Kick a soccer ball around?”
“You have no idea where you’re goin’, do you?” With that, the challenge was on: Nobody tells me that I’m inept and incapable of doing anything without actually seeing me try to do it first. Especially not my mom. Being a strong-willed person can be a blessing, but at the same time it can be a curse, especially when it comes to driving and interactions with the every-changing world around us.
Dash cameras and helmet cameras are great devices for figuring out what happened later, when you regain consciousness. However, they do introduce an element illustrated by my old friend and reporting colleague Jerry Boone, who was once asked if he kept all his old notebooks. “Why would I do that?” he asked. “So I could prove I got it wrong?”