Poor Biff’s Almanac — Truth is Stranger than Fiction
It has been a while since I wrote an actual journal entry. That’s because I have been too busy concentrating on my writer’s block and my short fiction, which are often the same thing. Trying my hand at fiction saw my readership drop precipitously and I can only conclude from that that short fiction is about as popular as a photo essay on roadkill.
Point taken, fellow WordPressers, and so I’ll give short fiction a rest for a bit. However, at the risk of disappointing you, I can’t promise that I’ll give it up for good.
So here is something totally non-fictitious that actually happened to me. Prepare to be dazzled!
Today I found out the my truck is sentient.
No! Really! Hear me out.
I purchased this beast about four months ago when someone decided to run all over the vehicle I owned at the time. Since my old vehicle was totaled, I needed a new vehicle desperately, so I bought a used truck which I now affectionately call Leviathan. It is by far the largest vehicle I have ever owned and quite honestly I haven’t bonded with it yet. I am too busy having buyer’s remorse for that. One of the symptoms of my buyer’s remorse is that I haven’t bothered to read the owner’s manual. Why should I? It is a thousand pages thick and who has the time to read something like that?
But today I was trying to get my 10+ year old iPod classic to play through the stereo of my 5+ year old truck using the USB cable rather than the aux cable. Using the aux cable means I have to crank the volume all the way up on the iPod and about three-quarters all the way up on the truck stereo to achieve a listenable volume. This can cause unpleasant effects (such as deafness) when switching suddenly from aux over to the radio and forgetting to turn down the volume first.
I’m a smart guy. I’m an engineer. I can figure out damn near anything. But I’ll be damned if I could figure out how to get the truck stereo to play from the USB port. I pushed the 30 or 40 buttons on the stereo in every reasonable, logical combination, but nothing doing.
So, out of desperation I read the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual immediately referred me to the owner’s manual supplement that covered the radio. So I picked up that 150 page tome and read it as well. I was somewhat surprised when it told me to hit a button on the steering wheel and say out loud, “USB”. So, I did.
Imagine my shock when a female voice said “Connecting to USB.” Followed by. “Device detected. Now playing.”
Suddenly the cabin of my truck was filled with the sounds of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” How prophetic! And freaky.
Furthermore, I could say things like “Play next track” and “Search song Disco Duck” and this strange woman hiding in the dash of my truck would make the stereo do just that. (I would ask that you avoid judging me too harshly for having “Disco Duck” on my iPod.)
I was flabbergasted! Who knew my six year old truck had such technology in it? What a marvelous age we live in!
Of course, I could do without Dash Woman harping at me to pay attention to the road and to not become distracted by the stereo. How can I not be distracted by a truck that understands spoken English?
Now my buyer’s remorse is a little less than it was. But it’ll be back in spades when I stop at the gas station in a few days to fill up the 25-gallon tank.