“Car”, they speak, “is imperative. It must go on. Car is what we live for. Car is what we are.”
If I took you outside Car, turned your gaze down to it from above, you would gape at its size. In it everyone is somehow housed, certainly everyone you know and billions you do not. In it many-splendid items of distraction, new and newer, get old, tumble back and out to be spat, ignored, onto the receding scenery.
It looks like magic. How can something that big keep going. How can something that gargantuan hold together.
We all know their words. They are in us like skeleton, guide us like trellis, surround us like air. We know: Car is imperative. It must go on. If it stops, we stop. We would be ejected into the unknown, blinking like tourists in the bright strange, wandering around with fat fanny packs and feary eyes.
No, Car is not magic. Ask the experts. It is the manufactured best of all possibles, as natural as hunger, as obvious as panic, as inevitable as boredom. Its engine is machinery so very long in the making, almost-perfect machinery tended by skilled teams tweaking in well-timed response to the odd unforeseeable.
To the fore, an endless tangle of what Car needs. To the rear, scoured wastes soundly abused, home now to our trash. Car’s great reach takes it all in, gobbles it all up, digs, scrapes and inhales it all into its mighty machines, machines that produce and produce and produce such wonders. The wonders are counted. The numbers calculated astound. They are divided between us somehow. Those at the wheel say how. I cannot tell you how many numbers those at the wheel have, only that the amounts are beyond imagining.
Don’t ask how, but many have travelled ahead a ways. We are now not so far from a drop into what they have agreed to call ocean. It is, they say, made of water. We cannot imagine water and the waves that shape its surface.
Car cannot go there. Car can do nothing with that stuff, that graspless, shifting, wavy, wilful, living stuff. It awaits us, confident of itself. It knows Car must stop.
Car cannot stop. If Car stops, we stop. We must go on.
Car must stop. We will need Something Else. Those who have seen ahead speak new words like Boat, Ship, Float and Sail. Strange words we hear more and more. What do they mean?
Something odd: there is a rising sense finding voice that Car must stop. Many can feel it. Some speak Boat, Ship, Float and Sail to Car’s experts. Confused blinks followed by hasty retreats to machine administration are their answer. There are more and more of such hasty retreats these days.
Can you feel it? Something different this way comes.