Talking Shit, as Usual!

1st September 2018

Forêt du Junda, south of Montalivet Les Bains, Aquitaine, France

As predicted, not much to write about travelogue-wise now we are static for a few days, which in many ways is a good thing as it means life is currently trouble free, relaxed and mellow under blue skies and very agreeable temps.

However a couple of small items have caught my eye:

Each evening an old geezer on his bike cycles slowly past us, first in one direction and about an hour later back in the other. Nothing remarkable about that except his is in the nib! At least, the first time I saw him I thought he was but I noted last night he was actually wearing some kind of micro thong thing, not that I looked too hard, you understand!

Only the French….

The other item concerns a man trying to open his shiny new Renault saloon in the Aldi car park. Not sure if it was a remote gizmo thingy or a thumbprint required to open it but, in either event it wasn’t responding and there was defo no physical keyhole of any description with which to override it!

It reminded me of the time I was on a Lufthansa fly-by-wire Airbus about to land at Frankfurt when the captain spotted, at literally the last moment before landing, that some of the landing gear had not descended. Watching the grit on the runway through my porthole window - we were that close to the ground! - rapidly disappear from view we shot back skywards to circle round the airport whilst someone figured out just how to get the bloody wheels down.

No physical override on an Airbus either, nowhere a person and a crank handle can go and manually winch them down as, in theory, the three onboard computers can not all fail simultaneously!

It took about half an hour to get it sorted and during that time I was contemplating that despite all the comfort and ease of my business class seat I was actually sitting in what was just a bloody great flying cigar tube with a rocket strapped to its arse and if those wheels failed to come down then it was goodnight Vienna!

Other passengers must have been having similar thoughts and a nearby chap in the middle isle was audibly muttering his “Hail Mary Full of Grace” as he frantically fingered his worry beads and softly banged his forehead repeatedly against the seat in front of him. Other passengers, totally ignoring the seatbelt signs, were anxiously and agitatedly walking about asking the visibly flustered cabin crew what was going on only to be told to (basically) ‘sit down and shut the fuck up’ and that ‘everything was under control’ - when it clearly it very much wasn't!

And the point of all this rhetoric?

Our increasing reliance on technology not only makes us highly vulnerable to it’s caprices but it also de-skills us. A few years ago I used to travel everywhere with a satnav app and then one day my smartphone simply stopped working - unrepairable due to a motherboard fault I found out later - and I had to go back to map reading.

Now map reading is something I have always been good at and like to do but after a few years of parking my brain and taking my spoon-fed travel instructions from Directional Doris on the dashboard I’d forgotten how to read a map and anticipate road signs. It took quite a while to get back up to speed with my skills and I decided then to ditch Doris permanently and these days I mostly drive on the in-car compass.

I do use google maps but literally only as a map and I never take directions from it, audible or otherwise.

As a boy I used to be able to add or subtract four Pounds nineteen and six to three Pounds tuppence three farthings in my head, everyone could but, today, I struggle to take ten from a hundred without a bloody calculator.

One day in the foreseeable future my old Jeep will fail to start and it will be its ‘brain’ not allowing the fuel pump to deliver the required diesel into the cylinders, or something very similar. Once upon a time a manual fuel injection pump squirted diesel into the engine and would run for about half a million miles without any issues - always provide the fuel tank didn’t run dry.

One day very soon our homes will be wired into the web - the internet of things - and the toilet will be talking to the bogroll dispenser to remind it to order more paper.

But, when our dependence on technology is complete, what happens to us when it fails?

We’ll all be going round stinking of shit trying to remember just exactly how we used to obtain bog rolls, is what!

You think I’m joking……..?!

So, that’s today’s bizarre outpourings from my beleaguered brain. It’s 11am local time, 25 degrees, a clear blue sky and there is a nearby beach and ocean I can hear calling to me like a siren.

Au demain, as they say here!

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