I’m Sorry That My Self-Driving Car Didn’t Think the Ren Faire Was an Impenetrable Obstacle, by Sarah Hutto
To the good people of my town, I would like to apologize, again, for the unfortunate incident in which I am sorry to have been involved two weekends ago. No one is more sorry than I am that my self-driving car failed to recognize the Renaissance Festival as a group of pedestrians to be avoided. Though I have apologized both at the scene of the accident, and again to the affected as I was released from the hospital with an unsightly bruise, I am still experiencing backlash from the Medieval Reenactment Community, with the Renaissance Council going so far as to demand that my “futuristic death robot” be impounded and destroyed.
How was I to know that a gathering of historically clothed antiquiphiles would not stand out as a human mass to be avoided by my scientifically advanced automobile’s external sensors?
While I don’t wish to make light of this incident, I would like to point out that there are casualties of every new invention and great industrial threshold. Countless men perished in the building of the railroad and the settling of the West. Why, even Benjamin Franklin was electrocuted in sacrifice to the discovery of electricity! Yet, no one has suggested that we do away with the lightbulb.
There is a saying, “The tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Revolution.” Well, so must modern driving technology, my friends!
What’s one paralyzed jester when weighed against the countless senior citizens that can now get to and from Bingo with ease? What’s the obliteration of one Cod Piece Shoppe in the face of never needing to call a cab home from the bar again? Those handmaidens were pulled safely out of the embankment, and their bodices only wield the faintest remains of splattered motor oil after a thorough dry-cleaning, which I chipped in for.
And I did not walk away unscathed, mind you. The truth is that, I, personally, have been just as much a victim of the technological hiccup of my self-driving car as those unfortunate fairgoers.
Who could have predicted that when combined, mead and bard’s blood would form a highly viscous substance that is almost impossible to wash off of naugahyde leather, even after several WD40 treatments? And who would have thought that, despite its claims of protection, a suit of armor could be so damaging to not only its wearer, but to the once immaculate exterior of my automobile? It left a permanent imprint on the passenger side door that I’ll just have to live with now.
All this aside, despite having an epic tale to one day tell my grandkids, I also learned some valuable lessons, which I will leave you with now. 1) Technology notwithstanding, the only time it’s okay to catnap in a moving car is if a fully awake and sober human being is behind the wheel, and 2) A Twizzlers candy bouquet is not as readily embraced as one might assume in the face of a long physical recovery.
I hope those affected find this statement helpful and can follow my example of embracing the positivity of the situation, for only when we look toward the future, has our mead, and our blood, not been spilled in vain.
Sarah Hutto is a writer whose work is on McSweeney’s, Shouts and Murmurs, and Reductress. Follow her on Twitter: @huttopian.
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