Monday, February 26, 2007

Technology and the Turnpike

"This Turnpike sure is spooky at night when you're all alone"

When the Boss sang these words back in 1982, it was about driving in the "wee wee" hours to get back to his baby. For me, these kinds of late-night episodes usually entail jumping into the car when my parents find themselves suddenly confronting a health emergency of some sort. The other day it was the news that my dad had been in a car accident. He's banged up, but will be fine. His car, on the other hand, lost its battle with a delivery truck, tree, and building (for real...).

Recently, the two biggest changes for me on these types of runs up the Turnpike have been cellphones and my iPod. It was not all that long ago I would enter into a 3-4 hour news blackout when pulling away from the house. I simply had no way of getting in touch with anyone up in Jersey, unless I pulled off the road and dialed from a pay phone (remember those?). And boredom was a constant problem (and danger), as there truly are 57 channels and nuthin' on. Avoiding white line fever was a real challenge, to say the least.

These days, though, technology has made this kind of emergency management way, way easier. I need to keep abreast of how my dad is doing? No problem...information is only a cell phone call away. I have to stay awake at all costs? Simple...alternate talking to Desi and listening to a Mandarin lesson.

So even though long-distance troubleshooting is anything but easy, technological advancements have taken some of the edge off the process. (And I haven't even mentioned E-ZPass yet.) With Desi, Ken Carroll, and Jenny Zhu as my co-pilots, the Turnpike isn't so spooky after all...



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