Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Engineers (at least in my part of the world) really love their tee-shirts.  We love a tee-shirt paying homage to a favorite movie.  We love a tee that reminds us of a project we worked on.  A tee shirt commemorating a major outage is always full of win, really.  A tee shirt that sends up someone else's text editor of choice is even more win.  I just had a birthday and I got two fantastic tee-shirts and I am totally psyched.  

Here is a picture of one of my favorite tee-shirts.  Get it?  GET IT?  DO YOU GET IT?   I LOVE THIS SHIRT.

Some of the tee-shirts I see are a little creepy.  I know a senior engineer who periodically wanders around wearing a shirt that says "go away or I'll replace you with a tiny script."  But hey, just a tee-shirt.  Covers the nipples and adds some warmth and a pretty affordable thrill in an expensive life.  

Fast forward (and I mean really fast, really forward) to the people driving cars.  I watch these guys a lot.  You could say with some accuracy that my life depends on watching these guys so I am more attentive, more perceptive when it comes to observing the American Car Driver.   

What do I notice?  They don't seem very happy.  This is the bay area, where money rains from trees (haha, no actually) and so I am looking at some very high end cars but to this particular piercing scrutiny I notice that the people behind the wheel of the Porsche Carreras look like the people behind the wheel of the Toyota Corollas.  Bummed.  Disappointed.

Study the people around you and report back if they look like the people I see.  The people I am looking at are sortof sagging back into themselves, two chins become three, three become four.  Their mouths are fixed in a thin squeezy line.  The stare straight ahead.  Many will have a phone in one hand and they study it, their heads bowed and their lower lip drooping a little.  

Back to tee-shirts.  Do you follow xkcd?  It's even better than tee-shirts.  And one of my favorite xkcd graphics is about tee-shirts.  Someone I used to work with got the tee-shirt with that comic and wore it in to work.  It was a little uncomfortable.  

The idea I have as I study these alternately glum, angry, resigned, deadened drivers is that their cars are their tee-shirts.  Maybe if their car is sporty enough someone will love them.  Maybe if their car is luxurious enough they'll feel posh.  Maybe if their car is special enough, someone will finally think they are special.  And they're sad and hopeless because no matter what car they buy they are still themselves.  Ageing.  Lonely.  Misunderstood.  Frustrated.

1 comment:

  1. The happy drivers' cars were all built before 1968...