I'm driving to Palm Springs in a BMW 550GT. Karl is in the passenger seat staring straight ahead like a carved statue.
I don't think we've said a word for the last two hours. What's there to say anyway?
"Damn, it's early."
"My butt itches."
"What are you thinking?"
No, we don't say anything and that's just fine. Men can do that, drive without speaking. This wouldn't work with the wife who views bits of silence as terrible wastes of time.
I adore silence. I enjoy being incommunicado. I like disconnecting.
The Blackberry in my pocket reminds me just how small the world has become and I secretly curse its existence. The very premise that I can be tracked through this device is infuriating. I chuck it in the back, hard. Hopefully it'll break.
Sadly, there'd be a new one on my desk in a few days.
I don't Tweet or use Skype and haven't been to Facebook in more than a year. Is my life any less rich, my brain any smarter? Probably not. As much as I admire new information technology, the connectivity, I have to wonder if it enriches our lives or just adds noise.
In retrospect, this BMW is quite possibly the most connected car I've ever driven. With its SATCOM link, the BMW's navigation system knows exactly where I am, every minute of everyday. I've taken dirt trails and mountain paths in an effort to confuse it. My hope is the screen will begin flashing "Forbidden Zone" or "Uncharted Territory". No such luck. No matter how puny the road, the BMW has it mapped and displays exactly where it will lead.
Just as we enter Palm Springs the fuel warning chimes a pleasant reminder. We need a Chevron and all we can seem to find are Shells. Karl punches a few buttons and narrows the computer's search. In less than 45 seconds we have a plotted route to a Chevron station. A few more buttons plot a route to the hotel.
That night we go scouting for an early morning photoshoot. Record winds are gusting to 85 mph and blowing sand has reduced visibility to 20 feet. I manage to find a few promising spots only to realize I'll never find them again. Karl pushes a few buttons and the BMW remembers these locations. On our return, a voice starts chattering over the speakers. The BMW's Bluetooth has connected with my handheld. It's the wife. She wants to know what kind of tile for the upstairs bathroom and she's signed me up to photograph Cole's next soccer game. She also wants to tell me about some great deal she got a Costco. I tell her we are in the middle of a sandstorm and I'm about to lose the connection. I disconnect and disable Bluetooth.
It's just noise anyway and I've got serious driving to do.