Zen and the art of parking a car

Our cars are very tech-savvy, and while some of them are meticulous, some are stupid and even offend our intelligence.

A small example: the ability of a car to park for you automatically, either parallel or vertical.

First, it’s hard to believe that one is actually using it. Why bother with parking steaks? By the time you set up the thing, you could already be parked. I have never tried this feature on a type car, because who cares. It is in a personal vehicle and has been left unused there as well. Unfortunately, part of the purchase price of my car paid for it.

So I have no idea if it really works, but suppose it works great. It is still a small insult.

What is the scariest part of a DMV driving test? Parallel parking. And rightly so, because what is the place that most young drivers get away with? Parallel parking. What do some drivers with years of experience still seem to be struggling with? Parallel parking. Well, some people are not even very good at getting between the lines of a vertical space.

Your answer may be, hello, this is the argument that favors this feature: Here is a job that some people are struggling with and here is a great technological solution to their problem. But it is not a solution – it facilitates their problem, it allows it not to be addressed.

JFK called for things to be done “not because they are easy, but because they are difficult”. Automatic parking takes the easy way out.

Why is parallel parking even in driving tests? Because it reveals if a driver has good control over his vehicle. has a spatial awareness of the dimensions of the car and its environment; and that they understand the geometry involved in its maneuvering. Parking capacity tests, machine dexterity. If a driver can not handle this small piece of low speed station, how well will he perform the high stakes he encounters on the road?

Parking and other driving tasks may be painless, but it is also a privilege.

This came to my mind because I was training a teenage driver and one of the most difficult lessons for her was the idea that the rear wheels are the turning point for maneuvering at close range. This also applies to squaring, avoiding curbs, not running over the sprinkler heads, etc., so it is an important idea. He really does do well when driving on roads and highways, but until he can place a vehicle just a short distance from where it should be, he still does not have complete control.

This is the question of greater autonomy written in small size – automakers and technology companies are vying for autonomy, but many of us are not interested. How many Automatic blog Readers feel comfortable giving up control of their vehicle… in any way? You love to drive, and as a small part of it, you are probably proud of your parking skills. Maybe autonomous features, whether fully autonomous driving or small functions like this, will one day respond to the advertising campaign and give us safer roads (or in this case, parking lots?). But they are stealing something from us.

Parking provides an eternally fresh array of opportunities for small wins in life. Each parking space has its own problems, and even the most skilled driver sometimes has to cancel the first attempt and try again. If you like Wordle or NYT Crossword, parking is another type of puzzle that is fun to solve.

Maybe you are a technophile and think that it is nice to press a button, run your car with “Autopilot” or anything else and be all magical. This may be fun for a while, but it’s ultimately hollow. An innovation, not an achievement. Not yours achievement however.

Opposite the auto parking button with a different parking technology – front and rear sensors. This is an absolute pleasure, and here’s the difference: The sensors provide convenient information, but you maneuver. They do not take the controls from your hands.

We could do a tangent here on other technologies like the Tesla Summon (yeah, can you do it a few steps?) Or the automated trailer support. But this is specialized. Few drivers need to support a trailer. everyone needs to know how to park.

The automakers will dream of all sorts of features if we pay for them. Sometimes I just wish they would stop. How soon do we no longer need to do anything alone before there are no more challenges to face? No gear changes, no looking over our shoulders, no tracking of closing speeds, no parking worries. A life of pure convenience. Just like that spaceship full of inflated, hooded passengers in Pixar’s “Wall-E.”

Nothing about driving, even how you park, should be taken seriously. Anything you do behind the wheel endangers yourself and others. This is frustrating. But it makes you feel alive.

Parking and other driving tasks may be painless, but it is also a privilege. In Zen practice, small tasks are a form of meditation. It is the path to enlightenment. No deed is too small to be done with humility and care. A cleverly performed parallel parking job feels good, right? It is a small, glittering moment when you applied your mind and abilities and succeeded.

We need more of these moments, not less. Why push a button and turn off one of life’s little pleasures?

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