The Self-Stealing Car

A couple of nights ago, I had a really weird dream. At first I didn’t think it was weird enough to post, but it drifts through my mind a lot, so hey, maybe it needs a place.

It appears to be set in the time when I was in high school and I’m living at home with my folks. But somehow, present day things have followed me back there, including Steve, Tansy and iPhones. Ok then. It starts with Steve’s phone ringing, and me being annoyed that it’s far from where we’re sleeping because it’s our buzzer after all. Never mind that a. we’re not in our apartment and b. it’s something like 6 in the morning, so who the heck would be buzzing at this hour?

Steve walks out to the phone, bleary-eyed, and discovers that some random nerd from the internet is trying to Skype conference with him, and kills the call, and we get ready for the day. I have no idea what that had to do with the rest of the dream, but there it was.

Then the time comes to go to school, so Tansy and I head out to the car with my mom. But the car is a Google self-driving car. Yeah, because those existed in the 1990’s. I get in with Tansy, and mom says she just has to run back inside to get something she forgot. Just then, my phone starts babbling, and for some reason, a small child’s voice comes out of it. Then Voiceover’s voice says something like “alert, The malware Module A wants to install on your phone, don’t allow, ok.” Of course I say don’t allow, because who just says yes to Malware?

And then, without warning, the car starts up. At first I thought mom started it from inside…but then the car starts moving. First slowly, then faster.

In bewilderment, for some reason I can’t grasp, I ask Tansy to halt, as if she’s driving the car. Of course this doesn’t work, and I’m sure Tansy looks at me like I’ve lost my marbles.

At first, I’m kind of amused. First I wonder if mom has done this on purpose, why I didn’t just call home and ask is beyond me. I think about how cool it would be to arrive at school all by myself. But then I wonder how mom is going to get there if I basically steal her car.

Then the alarm is building slowly. The next thing I notice is it’s raining, so much so that the car keeps turning on the windshield wipers. I start to worry that maybe the car won’t see someone or something and might hit it. I realize that I have no idea how to control this thing, so can’t stop it, even if I realize that it’s bent on driving into a river or off a cliff.

Then I notice that the car is driving straight, and I know there are several turns on this road before I make it to school…so where exactly is the car going?

I take out my phone and try to fire up Blindsquare to figure out where we’re headed, but as I do so, I wonder what on earth I’m going to do with this information. Um, chief? Call home maybe? But this didn’t seem to be an option. Blindsquare’s music starts, and I wake up.

What the hell was that? The only thing I can think of is I heard something about the first prototype of Google’s cars being ready to drive, and we’ve heard a lot about hackings, and at Christmas, mom was talking about this guy who came in and talked to the kids at school about internet security, and his ability to drop apps on people’s phones at insecure wifi access points, and my brain decided to whip up a nice dream soup out of all of that.

But I think the worst part was the feeling of absolute helplessness, the feeling that even if I had some knowledge, I still had no power. Where, exactly, is that coming from?

I think back to when I was a kid, and I had a dream that cars could drive themselves. That was such an awesome dream. I climbed into the back of the car, told the car I wanted to go to a hotel 4 hours away, and off I went. I took a nap, woke up, asked the car where I was, arrived at the hotel, and felt so free. What a difference between that dream and this one.

Thankfully, last night, I don’t think I had any dreams like that, or dreams at all for that matter. I think I prefer that over that dream.

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