Metaphors of Life Journal: Random Bugs, Corrupted Messages and Sensory Deprivation

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on June 28, 2014 0 Comments


Random Bugs, Corrupted Messages

and Sensory Deprivation

Hmmm, is my car controlled by a dysfunctional family of squabbling, electronic siblings?

Confession: I am not really a car guy. My main criteria when buying a car are: reasonable price, reliability, long shelf life. It does not much matter what it looks like, how fast it will go or how many bells and whistles it boasts. In fact, the less complicated it is, the happier I am.

Unfortunately, automobiles these days are anything but simple. They are rumbling, high tech computers encased in a couple of tons of metal and glass. And like any technology driven device, they are quirky and temperamental. My 2009 Accent has a characteristic quirk. At irregular intervals, it will misfire once or twice before starting.

I asked my mechanic about the problem. He explained the role of the crankshaft and the camshaft in starting the car. Each apparently has a sensor. These sensors send and receive signals from each other. Apparently they miscommunicate randomly which causes the starting problem. It’s one of those nuisance problems you live with since it is difficult to remedy.

I could not help but imagine the two sensors communicating like squabbling siblings. I imagine it goes something like this:

Sensor 1: Ignition sequence initiated. Over.

Sensor 2: Say again? Over

Sensor 1: Dumbass! I said: ignition sequence initiated. But now we’re stalled. Over.

Sensor 2: Not my fault. The message was corrupted. Over.

Sensor 1: You always say that! What a screw-up. You need to be replaced. Over.

Sensor 2: Nothing wrong with me, bud. You need to be recalibrated. Over.

Sensor 1: No, you need to be reprogrammed. Over.

Sensor 2: Do not! Over.

Sensor 1: Do so! Over.

Sensor 2: Do not! Over.

Sensor 1: Ah, should the guy behind the wheel be turning purple? Over.

Sensor 2: That could be problematic. He may blow a gasket. Let’s try again. Over.

Sensor 1: Ignition sequence initiated. Over.

Sensor 2: Message received. Ignition confirmed. Vehicle is running.

Sensor 1: You’re still a dumbass. Over.

Sensor 2: Bite me. Over and out.

I long for the good old days before cars came bundled with software that the engineers are not able to debug before production begins. There are now cars that can park themselves. But you just know that at some point the parking module is going to malfunction. Picture yourself trying to convince the cop it was not your fault.

“Honestly, officer, the car was parking itself. It suddenly accelerated and went over the curb, sideswiped the parking meter, took out the little old lady and crashed through the coffee shop window. There was nothing I could do.”

I view my car as an expensive necessity for getting me from Point A to Point B. But I’m forced to concede that it is also a rolling metaphor for the technology dependant world in which we live. We are at the mercy of high tech devices that squabble and miscommunicate, often without rhyme or reason. It gives sensory deprivation a whole new meaning.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.comor the novel online companion at

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About the Author ()

I am The Metaphor Guy. Novelist, closet philosopher, chronicler of life’s mysteries – all through the lens of metaphor.Double award winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009: 1. Canada East Region Winner 2. Writers in the Sky Aw

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