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Brain Abyss

This week, a dear old friend chastised me for not getting on the Facebook Gate Guard page to check job opportunities. She said ‘You are being an old fart.’ meant in the kindest of fashion.  I declined the Facebook entre’ and replied ‘I enjoy my fartness.’ which is an unequivocally true and correct statement.

On the way out the door last evening to start a dog romp/ beer fest, I caught the tail end of a car commercial on TV that was loudly regaling features such as ‘GPS assistance, driving security safeguards and multiple cameras’ and it just struck me odd. Being as how the next 90 minutes were solely occupied by mindlessly throwing a rubber ball that was always dutifully retrieved and consuming 3 beers;  I had plenty of time for reflection.  I know these new cars will stop if an object crosses in front of them or a vehicle stops short. I guess some of them can parallel park and drive themselves. I cannot tell a new Toyota from a Kia from a Mitsubishi.

I stopped at Road Forks,NM regularly and have seen every one of these pumps occupied. It was full service and the attendants were all strapped. No concealed carry here.  All abandoned now.

This progression was not always the case so now we will do one of those ‘Back in the Day’ things that always elicit an eye roll and a long sigh from BFF Cait.  Right along with Rock and Roll, the car culture is one of the things that defined the American Way of Life. Each year the car companies would try to outdo themselves with distinctive and unique new models. Like a ’65 Mustang or a ’68 GTO or a ’55 Chevy.   People my age have NO problem calling up in their mind’s eye exactly what these cars looked like. As a matter of fact I distinctly remember a Cub Scout badge in the early ’60s that required me to identify by make, model and year 20 vehicles in a row driving down the highway.  I passed that test first try.

Back in the ’70s and ’80s when I was driving a big truck for a million miles or more, I traveled to each state in CONUS at least twice.  I did that with paper maps and a nationwide 1-800 pager which was cutting edge technology at the time.  My truck driving mentor who was a wizened little monkey of a man had a black book filled with directions to every place he had been for that company in the last 10 years;  all written in tiny, precisely correct grade school cursive.  No GPS machines, no cell phones, no ATMs, no pay at the pump for fuel.  I once parallel parked an 18 wheeler first attempt in a rest area in front of a large audience on a dare – at night.

Skillet faced KW

I bought a well used 1978 Kenworth cabover when I decided to become a wildcat trucker. It had a Big Cam Cummins 350 in it along with a 15 speed double overdrive transmission and a deep reduction box.

Some of the boys driving the big rigs in the Eagle Ford have given me a peak inside. All digital and fancy; some with automatic transmissions. Gimme 5 minutes and I bet I could figure it out.   How long would it take these young boys to figure out the old ’78 KW?

One of the Sunday Morning news shows had a side story on Harvey / Irma /Maria.  Seems there are no contractors available to repair the damaged buildings – at any cost.  It is a combination of things.  Who wants to do a sweaty physical job like laying bricks or framing a house these days?  The older craftsman are retiring. For every 5 that retire only 1 new tradesman enters the business.  Seems most young ‘uns are opting for a non-specific college diploma which will average them $37k in debt for each year completed.  I am not smart enough to do that math – much.

So I have my fartness and a decided lack of knowledge when it comes to social media, anything with a little “i” and anything beyond the most basic GPS skills.  So which is better??  Knowledge of complex and cutting edge operating systems or real life learning?  What happens when those operating systems just vanish into the ether?  What is happening in Puerto Rico right now?

I think I will stick with being an old fart.  The new shiny digital stuff may make us smarter and more worldly and more connected and more efficient – until it doesn’t.  The whole nonsense seems overly fragile to me since I remember before there was internets.  Folks BFF Cait’s age and younger have never known a world where the internet was not taken for granted every single day so I guess they get a kitchen pass from me.

Work Update: I have contacted every Gate Guard company I can think of. As expected, being a solo operator and having a dog I refuse to leave at home for 12+ hours every day is narrowing the job prospects.  I have turned down guard shack assignments and working a 12 hour shift out of my Suburban.  I need to work but I do not feel like starting at the bottom of the pile yet again.  Seven years of grinding it out in most any conceivable scenario oughta be worth something to somebody.

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6 comments to Brain Abyss

  • Paul Dahl

    Love that picture of your old KW COE. Bet these modern day kids would be amazed at how not only could you shift that tranny, but do it once you got rolling without using the clutch. Ah, the memories. :cD

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    • Andy

      Right enough Paul and I have driven hundreds of miles with no clutch after a failure. If you couldn’t get it rolling off a hill, you could start it in gear.

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  • Rob

    The world has changed….

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  • Don M

    I notice the last three posts you wrote are listed as by Andy, Kathy, and blank. Is this a gender identity thing? If so, you’ll have to help us with the new pronouns.

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