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the story of an invisible girl
Cruise Control
A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work in the morning, like I do almost every morning. The road was dry and not very crowded, so I went to set my cruise control, like I also do almost every morning.

I pushed the button, removed my foot from the gas, and the car started slowing down. Alarmed, I stepped back on the gas. What was wrong with the cruise control? I generally leave it on, so I turned it off then on again a couple of times. I pushed the set button again, but once again my car slowed down when I removed my foot from the gas.

Now I was getting annoyed, because I just recently had something to do with the cruise fixed in the car. But I hoped it maybe just needed a little bit of a rest. I turned the device off and completed my drive to work.

That evening driving home, I turned the cruise back on, gave it an encouraging pat, then pushed the set button while I held my breath. I removed my foot from the gas, and the car slowed down. Darn it! I really didn't want to have to take the thing to the dealer, even though it would be under warranty. Getting the car fixed is a hassle. The car was only two years old; things shouldn't be breaking down yet. Annoyed and frustrated, I turned the cruise control off again and drove home.

The next day, or maybe the day after that, I fussed with it some more. I was still hoping that it just needed some time to relax, then it would be better again. I turned it back on and tried various rhythms of pressing the set button, trying to surprise it into working again. Nothing, no good. The car stubbornly continued to fail to cruise, no matter what I did.

That's when it suddenly hit me. Wait a minute, I realized. It's not the thumb button that sets the cruise control, that's the just resume/speed up button. It's the button on the end that actually sets it! I finally pressed the button on the end, and lo and behold, the cruise control worked flawlessly.

So, let's recap. I'd had the car for two years, driving it on an almost-daily basis, and I'd been using the cruise control nearly every time I drove it. I had probably used that button to set the cruise somewhere in the vicinity of six hundred times, maybe many more -- and yet I suddenly forgot how to use it?? And it took me a couple of days before I remembered again???

How is that possible, and how have I managed to survive my day-to-day existence?
read 13 comments | talk to me!
creepyboi From: creepyboi Date: March 11th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
thats why i always just put a brick on the gas pedal. works every time and i dont forget about it.

now if i can only tie a rope to the steering wheel.............
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
ooh, good idea. I'm gonna go brick-shopping!
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 11th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am not even sure how my cruise control works, of course, a long trip for me is some like 8 miles or so lately with lots of traffic.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
My drive to work is only 8 miles. But I don't like driving, and I'm more comfortable without my foot on the pedal. So I use the cruise whenever possible.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: March 11th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
My usual commute to work is 2 miles one way. I am hoping that they don't move me to the building on the north side of Town Lake.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: March 11th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
How have I managed to survive my day-to-day existence?

There's a question that so many of us ask...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
*laugh* You're all wondering how I've managed to survive? (:
tedwords From: tedwords Date: March 11th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exactly! It occupies my every waking hour--"how is Renniekins managing to survive?" It's a question that I cry out, in subways and crowded streets...and usually, this results in one or two really strange looks in my direction. But no arrests--at least, not yet.

No silly--I meant, many people ask the same question about THEMSELVES. (but I know you knew that) ;)

greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: March 11th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is weird how we can just do some things on automatic for years, but then we stop and think about it and can't remember exactly how we do it. It's an odd realization.
magentablue From: magentablue Date: March 11th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
cruise control makes me nervous. i hardly ever use it.
and i always forget which way to turn the thing to adjust the side view mirrors so i'm contantly adjusting the wrong one. i've had my car six years now... you'd think i'd have it down by now!
nishar From: nishar Date: March 11th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have no idea why that happened. But I do know that I forget little things like that if I don't do them for a couple of weeks. Did you not use your cruise control for a while?
homeless_one From: homeless_one Date: March 12th, 2005 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

How is that possible ...

Cruise control mechanisms and TV remote controls qualify as the user interfaces from hell. They are abstractions that don't really map to anything so no matter how used to them you are, it is easy to screw up if you are a little distracted or a little frazzled.

Read some insurance company's accident reports some day. What you did is not that far out.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: March 15th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Hugs, there there, it's all right, everyone's done something like that before.
read 13 comments | talk to me!