Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||The Future is Hiding in the
The Future is Hiding in the Car
few weeks ago I wrote a column about GPS, the global positioning
system in cars. It's a navigation system that can help you find
your way from point to point by using an electronic mapping
system - to explain for those of you still living in the Stone
Age, like me.
Apparently, this has been around for years - I'm just a slow
adapter. After seeing GPS in action, I thought I'd seen it all.
However, as the old timers say here in the South, "You
ain't seen nuthin' yet!"
What I didn't know about was another innovation right out of
science fiction called "On Star." Even scarier is the
fact that this stuff is standard equipment on all new 2007 GM
So, look out behind you! The future is gaining on us whether we
are ready or not.
The other day we got in the car, tired and ready to come home.
But, the car began to TALK. I thought we were being hijacked.
"Your new On Star system has been activated," said a
voice from nowhere. Press the blue button to complete the
I wanted to drive straight to the closest police station and
have the car taken into custody, but my honey, much to my
dismay, pressed the blue button on the mirror that I had never
Soon a lady's voice came on and began to tell us all about the
new system. I looked in the back seat, but she wasn't back
there. She must be talking through the radio? Either that or the
poor thing was in the trunk!
The voice from nowhere proceeded to tell us that she was
actually in Canada and to explain what the different buttons
were for while I continued to try to figure out where she was
The red button is for emergencies, like wrecks or police
emergencies. The blue button is for roadside assistance, and the
third button is a telephone. Depending on which button you push,
star lady sends appropriate assistance.
Now I'm not really convinced that we need all this convenience
in our lives. Seems too much like "Big Brother" to me.
I'm still trying to get used to cell phones myself.
My honey proceeded to chat with the voice from Canada about
Montreal. The system began to tell us why we needed it and what
it could do. The emergency system activates itself if the
airbags inflate. It has its own GPS that can pinpoint our
location so emergency services can find us.
Well, that does sound sort of useful. I hope we never need that
The green button is sort of like AAA. Of course, we already have
AAA, not to mention roadside assistance through the car
insurance and, I believe, most car manufacturers have roadside
"But this is better," explains the answer lady,
"because it knows exactly where you are." If your car
is stolen, On Star can even help the police locate it -- or
what's left of it.
The telephone feature is hands-free, therefore safer, and four
times more powerful than a locomotive. err. I mean a cell phone.
Of course, it does have an activation fee and minute usage fee
attached, but it's for emergencies.
I think I can live without this. However, like camera phones,
iPods and Blackberries, we will soon delude ourselves into
thinking we actually need it.
There's no place left to hide, no such thing as getting lost,
running out of gas, or forgetting to charge the cell phone. No
more excuses, no more secrets, no more challenge of the unknown,
or thrill of discovery.
Frankly, I am still mainly interested in knowing exactly how
that voice does it, and where it is really coming from.
Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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