Unintended Consequences

Killer Jeep
Figured I would give my blog readers out there that are not as fond of our feathered brethren a break and go old school for a post.  That’s right, I’m going back to the early days here at Life Intrigued when men were men and images were built with blood, sweat and tears… and a lot of Paint Shop Pro.  These days the trusty Nikon is leaned on heavily to produce the artistic feel of the posts.  Feel free to translate that to the author just being too lazy to go through the manual work, preferring to just push down on that little silver button that makes that shutter slap sound indicating the image is in the tin.  From an observation perspective of blog maturity, the photography shots are generally getting a LOT better but based on this effort my manual graphic skills are getting even suckier.

Let’s not go any further without making a quick disclaimer – the Jeep image was lifted off a stock marketing page on the web. Ownership remains with the marketing org that produced it and merely borrowing it to comment on what I consider a design flaw.  Oh, and for the record, this Jeep is depicted with optional accessories that may or may not be available in your area – who knows, there may be a big demand for bumper teeth somewhere in the free world.

With that out of the way I can finally get to the heart of the post.  At first this post was going to be entitled, “Our Jeep Tried to Kill My Wife!”  Clearly this title alone would have allowed us to be booked on any number of late afternoon drivel shows.  Unfortunately, another bizarre event happened on Valentine’s Day that put me in a precarious situation.  Assessing the two events resulted in the realization that both were a result of unintended consequences which seemed like a more appropriate title – although not as likely to draw the oooohs and ahhhhs of a Springer audience.  Let’s start with Linda’s incident.  I received a call from Linda one late afternoon, who was in a pretty agitated state.  Her first words were something like “This DAMN Jeep just tried to kill me”  (Ummm, I didn’t say I came up with the post title, I just said that was almost what I used for a title).  Once she calmed down a bit she explained the situation.  She was crossing a major bridge across the Illinois River when a Frito Lay bag came blowing across the road.  As luck would have it, it managed to lodge against the front bumper of her Jeep.  Sounds innocent enough unless you realize that this vehicle is equipped with collision detection sensors.  The Frito Lay bag has a shiny reflective inner surface which apparently set off the collision sensor(s).  Linda claims the dashboard went blank except for a very clear alert message followed immediately by the anti-lock brakes engaging to quickly bring the vehicles speed down to avoid the errr chip bag.  This deceleration was significant to give Linda’s neck quite a jolt – so much that it cost us a chiro visit the very next day.  As much as I appreciate the safety intent of the engineers, the execution ended up have a completely different impact in the field that was likely not anticipated.  After talking to a co-worker there are other issues with that detection approach which caused him to disable the capability (it involves a parallel road to his driveway and it locking him up every time a car would be on that other road).  He had already done the research on how to disable it so that saved some time on the Internet.  Nice try but there needs to be some form of mass sensor validation to complete that detection loop.

Hit the jump to read about another tricky situation that I ended up in

the other event did actually involved Linda as well, but it was me who was in the awkward position.  We had just finished up doing some grocery shopping on a wickedly windy day in Peoria – subzero windchills and a blustery cold that blew right through whatever layers you foolishly thought was appropriate for the conditions.  We threw our bags into the truck and Linda hopped in the driver’s seat while I opted for the passenger side.  Linda had the car moving already when I completed the snap of the seatbelt.  As she was completing her backing out of the parking spot a silver streak caught my eye to the right.  A few microseconds later the brain registered it was a grocery cart sailing across the parking lot parallel to and about 5 feet from the truck – holy crap!  I tried to open the door and jump out to stop it but the seatbelt held it’s ground to my shoulders disgust.  Reaching back I hit the release and tried again only to realize the truck was STILL moving.  Meanwhile the cart is clearly picking up steam and now basically to the midpoint of the truck.  Pretty sure I was repeatedly telling Linda to stop but she is likely to claim some mumbling excuse for the delay in actually getting that done.  I leaped out of the truck and immediately noticed a nice SUV parked on the opposite side of us and in a direct line to the large silver bullet.  By now it was at the nose of the truck and beyond my reach as I finally navigated out around the wind frustrated door.  One last reach failed to snag the cart leaving me to stare in shock as it rammed into the bumper of mentioned SUV.  Pretty sure my mouth dropped at the sound of the impact – ladies and gentleman that was one loud dead on blast.  So there I was standing outside my car, staring directly at a vehicle about 5 or so feet from me with a likely horrified look.  That was when I realized I was staring at a driver who was oblivious to actions leading up to moment a cart slammed into his bumper – At this point I, with horrified look, was staring directly at a driver with an equally horrified look now thinking I was the catalyst for what just happened to his vehicle.  Having deduced that this was what he was thinking (because I would have had the same opinion at this point) I pointed into the direction the cart came from and mouthed equally reinforcing words to hopefully bring clarity to the situation.  It didn’t work.  He was still looking at me as if I’d just hacked up his first born with a dull machete blade.   I reiterated my highly explanatory words (something like – it came from over there) but he maintained the same horrified look – this dude thinks I’m the one who caused this and not as someone who just hurt his shoulder trying to save his vehicle.  In these situations (yep, it has happened before) I find it best to not flinch or give any indications that would reaffirm their mistaken perception.  I reached out and grabbed the cart and proceeded to wheel it all the way back across the parking lot to a corral it likely came from in the first place – this time I made sure it was all the way in the corral so it didn’t escape to terrorized other vehicles.  By now he was out of his SUV and inspecting the damage with a scowl on his face still staring at me.  Again, don’t flinch – Linda drove up, I slipped back into the seat, reattached the seat belt and we drove off.  Sorry about your car dude, but it was NOT my fault – apologies though for falling short in my saving attempt.  Being put in the crosshairs of a disgusted SUV driver was definitely an unintended consequence of trying to do the right thing.  I’ll make the same attempt in the future, even though this ended up being an awkward moment, but Linda and I will have to come up with a code word that will trigger her to stop the car quicker (one comes to mind but that is an inside joke with my wife).

There you have it – two different situations that both resulted in unintended consequences.  One due to engineers not taking into account the different scenarios that would trigger a vehicle meltdown and the other resulting in me being put in a compromising position as a result of trying to be a good Samaritan.  At least there wasn’t any serious consequences as a result, but plenty of lessons learned for next time.

See you again in a bit (but be warned, likely back on the my favorite feather bearing topic)

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