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Who are you?

I had just left my house and was driving peacefully along a country road when, suddenly, an alert light flashed on my dash. Not being a master of automobile mechanics, I immediately assumed the worst. Although, I never really knew what the worst could be. I twisted the little mouse button on the console, looking for signs on my dashboard screen, but before I could find anything useful, a large message appeared telling me the air was low in one of my tires.

Now, this was impressive. Not only did it give me the message, it also showed me a graphic of the four wheels and which tire was the culprit. As if that was not enough, it also displayed the air pressure. Before I had a chance to act, a voice from somewhere inside my vehicle told me to slowly come to a stop and pull over to inspect the tire.

I looked all around the car. Not being able to see anyone, I assumed it was coming from that secret room where Hey Google, Siri and Alexa hide. I stepped from the vehicle and looked at the tire. It was a bit low but not flat. I was relieved and pondered my next steps.

Back in the car, the voice explained I had run flats, tires you can drive on for 100 or so kms and then throw away. That did not sit well, but something was calming in her voice. I suppose that is the reason these voices tend to be female. I couldn’t imagine a male taking the same approach. ‘Hey, this is Joe. Your tire is flat because you drove over a nail… again.’

I pressed OK on my screen and decided to continue driving to my destination and then make a decision. Suddenly I heard a phone ring. I checked my mobile, and it was off. After three rings, a voice came on and said, ‘This is roadside assistance. I see you have a tire issue.’

I looked around, but alas, I was still alone. Was she real or not? ‘Hello,’ I said, and she replied. I asked if she was real, and she said she was. While she was explaining my options, I wondered how she knew about my problem, and oh, I should say, she called me by name.

Well, thanks to a local repair shop, my tire was fixed without having to replace it, and I was once again on my merry way. Now, however, I know I am not alone, and no doubt, everyone knows where I am at any given time.

I took my bicycle out from its winter home in anticipation of riding, but before I do, I will check every centimetre of it to make sure no one is hiding in the frame.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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