Analog Perfection

So I bought a car, an old car. Let me tell you why. After a lifetime of manufacturing I ended up teaching sustainability. It sort of makes sense. I was good at what I did, and life as we know it is dependent upon manufacturing. The thing that has effected manufacturing in my lifetime is the digital revolution.

In my world the pixel defines the unit of measurement. In a life of cameras and vision systems the units of measurement are defined by the pixel. No more no less. Of course I spent a lot of time comparing actual objects with a comparator, a device that uses a system of light and geometry to define form. A comparator is most definitely non-digitial. Still, it is a great tool.

Being new to the game of education I rely on the work of others. They are smarter than I, so I listen. I do what they say. I wonder why things are important. In manufacturing I was a technician, I made machines work. I fixed things and helped people do a better job. The goal was simply to make things. Things that would make life better.

So I was a bit surprised to see an analog focus. For me the pencil is an artifact of the past. For the smart people the pencil is a critical tool. I would think that the stylus is the digital replacement of the pencil, yet the curriculum ignores the digital stylus. I must admit complete astonishment.

The building in which we work is a wonderful example of architecture, one of the best. LEEDS certified platinum. The building alone could be considered a major reason I accepted the job. I thought it would be wonderful to work in such a glorious building. Yet not everyone is enthralled with the building. Seems most everyone has a reaso. They do not like the building. I will admit that not all the systems work as intended, yet I have worked in worse. The building was intended to be a shining example of sustainability.

Inside this wonderful building we seem to be stuck in the past. I believe it is because people are comfortable in their bubbles. What worked for them in the past is expected to work for them in the future. They are the ones in charge. Me I am simply a humble and obedient servant. So I tell myself to embrace the analog.

Old cars are chill. When I was 16 I bought what was later to be considered the most beautiful car in the world, a great collectable. I recently sold it at a tidy profit. Of course the fellow I sold it to made much more money than I. A lot of people made money from that car. So I thought I should replace that car with something special. But what? I certainly could not afford a Duesenburg or Packard. Actually there was nowhere near enough money to buy a cool new car. I even thought of trading one of my cars in with trade for something cool and electric, but the prices of my digital dream cars were rapidly rising. So I. The end I decided I wanted an American land yacht.

My only real criteria was I wanted it to be gold. Like my first car, and the car I had when I met my wife. They were both gold. Might as well have some continuity. I had worked a summer driving a 76 Cadillac limo, so a 76 Coupe Deville or Eldorado would be high on my list. Cars back then came in so many nice colors. I might consider something in another color. When I was in Boy Scouts a friend’s dad had Lincoln Mark III, it was the first car I went over 100 miles an hour in. It was the Mark V that finally got my attention. I had no personal experience with them, yet there were moments from the past that stuck with me. The padded spare, the opera light, the grill. Yes the size. The clincer was the Lincoln was a full frame vehicle and was reported to be quieter and had a better ride.

I started to shop around. I found a pair coming up to auction. One of them was gold. I was going to go for it. It got away. I found out that the prices for these things are all over the place. Nice examples went from 7500 to over 40000. The gold one turned out to be a Diamond Jubilee edition. It was a 8000 thousand dollar option on a 12000 car. They made a few thousand of them. Part of the reason this particular option was so expensive was the digital miles to empty gauge. Push a little button and a digital display would show how many miles to empty. The rest of the car was analog. Carburetor and everything.

The interstate highway system was built for cars like this. It is a closed car with air conditioning. It is my hope that I could waft into my golden years with this automobile. If I am lucky the car may become a desirable collectable.

I bought the best I could afford. It is a fascinating time capsule. Cars today are so much better. My others cars have heated seats an steering wheels. Not this. There are no cameras and sensors to help park. Navigation system? Check the glove box for a map. I am not even going to mention fuel economy. The best at the time quadraphonic eight track sounds awful. The analog world is not aa great place. Yet the car has style. Even if it is as fake as the 70’s. The Zebra Wood trim in the interior is a vinyl decal. The crystal hood ornament is simply molded plastic. The cut glass instruments and opra window are again just molded plastic and glass. I am sure even the diamonds embedded in the windows are simply faux. I can pretty safely assume that no trees were harmed in the production of this automobile.

So is this fine machine sustainable? Under the fancy and fake surface it is a common mans LTD. The basic bits are common and mass produced. The bits that mascurade as bespoke are simply eratz gingerbread. However it is fine piece of history. If nothing else it is a reminder on how well off we have it today. More importantly, the car is also a reminder of what is wrong today. Our cars look all the same in 50 shades of gray and a black interior. We have lost sight of color and live in uniform blandness.

What the land yachts of the era were an experience of style, color and texture. We seem to have lost that bit in the digital age.


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