Hell on Wheels

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America, it is said, has a love affair with the automobile. That would not include Steve McMoyler. Here’s his Perspective.

Concerning love, there’s one type that I’ll never be seduced by. The sensuous ads featuring the year’s sleek, alluring models have no effect on me.

I’m talking about cars, of course. I don’t trust cars. I just want the machine to get me from Point A to Point B. I’ve never loved any  any  car. I don’t name my cars, though I have called them names.

I don’t want a relationship. It’s not that I’m not romantic. I, I just have baggage. See, I grew up in the 1960s and 70s with all our family cars breaking down. Highway 17 to Santa Cruz used to have overheated cars on the shoulder every few miles, and we always had one of them. I thought everyone drove around with milk jugs filled with water in their trunk. I could light a road flare at age 6.

Later, when I got my own car, I had to settle for a $250 Chevy Impala  $250 because it was technically totaled on the driver’s side. My door didn’t click shut. It just sort of wedged shut, and I used my shoulder to block it open. A darkly stained lap belt suggested that perhaps the driver had also been totaled. I continued spending time marooned on the side of freeways, sometimes hitchhiking, leaving the cars that betrayed me.


So now, autonomous driving is coming. Wow. A game-changer! A whole new, futuristic level of distrust that I feel.

Look, I know that driving is dangerous, and self-driving cars are already logging millions of miles without a scratch, but, still, I don’t trust them. If I resent my car so much now, how much more acute will my resentment be when the car knows everything? I have a wife for that.

The cars are ready. But I am not. I’ll keep my milk jugs of water, thank you.

When you see me stranded on the shoulder, please smile and wave.

With a perspective, I’m Steve McMoyler.

Steve McMoyler works in Silicon Valley.