The company email read: “Our vast employee population across a footprint covering most of the globe is working remotely, and will do so for the next two weeks, or more if necessary.”Thud.This whole working home thing due to the coronavirus outbreak is going to take some getting used to here at Casa Reynolds. My friend, Larry, who’s in the same boat with his shoe company, sent a picture of himself with his laptop actually on his lap, reclining on a sofa, slippered feet up on a pillow. He said he isn’t getting anything done at all. At the other extreme, I once knocked on my friend Peter’s front door, who was a salesman and had always worked at home. He greeted me wearing dress clothes and a tie. “Where are you going?” I asked. “Nowhere. I’m at work now.” I’m shooting for somewhere between Larry and Peter.This morning, I reflexively checked the traffic on my phone, then set it down. The next hour and fifteen minutes won’t be spent trudging in the cattle drive up the 405 to work. Altogether, 2.5 hours of daily 405 freeway dead-heading is suddenly 2.5 hours of found time.It’s an epidemic of additional minutes that I can repurpose however I want, and unsurprisingly, it’ll start with making an automotive to-do list. Call it my CARonavirus list.Its pathology will unfold like this: List my never-gotten-to car-nut priorities and then go straight to the stuff at its very bottom. The hopelessly calcified ones way down there that you’d never ever get to without a worldwide emergency to push the planet’s pause button.[][]Do Some Work on Your CarMy CARonovirus list is going to start very, very small—checking the spark plugs of my tiny 1959 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. These days, we can mindlessly drive modern cars until a yellow service light blinks on, and bring it in to the dealer without any idea what it’s about.But no service light ever illuminates in a 1959 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite [] as it slowly develops a slight misfire. My car’s primordial version of the sudden LED outline of an engine are a couple of dim light bulbs that faintly glow against the faces of the coolant temperature and oil pressure gauges, and it’s up to you to watch the needles. (Another mystery bulb freely swings around on its wire under the dash, but I leave it alone because of its fun, haunted-car effect.)I’d probably lived with that occasional misfire for years as I haven’t had the focused time to clean and gap the spark plugs in about 47 years (when I had an MGB). But now I do.Next checkbox.Read a Car Book or TwoRecently, a new staff member, Nick Yekikian, asked me to recommend a car book he should read. Frankly, not many are worth the time. But I told him to read My Two Lives by Rene Dreyfus and edited by the great automotive historian (and writer), the late Beverly Rae Kimes. Dreyfus was a funny and fast early French racing driver who was most famous for racing Bugattis.[][]its 169 pages are bright with the color of prewar European racing, and textured with the details of driving for Ettore Bugatti at his prime (imperious) and a young Enzo Ferrari [] (impenetrable). During WWII, Dreyfus fought the Nazis while in the American army and afterwards started his second life as a restaurateur in New York, culminating in opening Le Chanteclair with his brother Maurice. Before it closed in 1979, it was a revolving door for the world’s most interesting car people who left their stories behind with the listening Dreyfus. After the first time I read the book, I bought a vintage ashtray at Retromobile that had been the target of a thousand cigarette butts in Le Chanteclair’s dining room (aimed right at its Rooster and Bugatti horseshoe grill insignia at the bottom). Later, my mom dropped it; I still have its sharp little shards in a Ziploc bag because I can’t throw them away. My Two Lives is a two-gear cognitive downshift in our Twitter-paced times—but who’s multitasking? Despite the ashtray trauma, I’m going to mentally double-clutch and reread it.Go on a Drive You’ve Been Wanting to Take (or Retake)Fewer cars on the road leaves extra social-driving-distance for me to screw around on. A pilgrimage I’ve been hesitating to take because the Bugeye is so very small and slow, and modern traffic is so very big and fast, is 30 miles away. Carbon Canyon Road is an unremarkable semi-rural wiggle through some hills in a gap between two Los Angeles freeway fingers, but it was my private test track when I was in high school. Early in the morning, I’d take my beat-up Jaguar [] E-Type there to practice double-clutching and heel-and-toeing (they’re still not right) and sometimes stop to randomly adjust the front toe to see how it would affect the car’s handling (always worse). And then I’d go to band practice.I’ve attended professional schools, but my driving wasn’t learned at any of them. It was carefully watched while walking the next to the Esses at Riverside Raceway, obsessively replayed in my mind during French class (in particular) and practiced along Carbon Canyon in an E-Type. Forty-five years later, I’d like to go back and re-hit my early apexes.[] [][] []Learn Some New Stuff About the Cars of the FutureLest you think I’m working remotely in the past, too, at the office I’ve been casually glancing at a series of excellent YouTube videos I discovered by Dr. Lex Fridman of MIT who specializes in AI, deep learning, and how humans interact with these emerging technologies. With my favorite annual event, the Nvidia GPU Technical Conference, suddenly repurposed online, Dr. Fridman’s classroom videos (and from his Waymo, Cruise, and Aurora guest presenters) are an autonomous-car technology IV. Like it or fear it, autonomy is our age’s moon race [], its most intellectually absorbing problem. What happens when an autonomous car passes a kid on a bike who’s carrying a stop sign? (There’s a video). What happens when a car’s video camera recognizes another car’s reflected image in the side window of a passing bus? (There’s a video.) How do you correct autonomous driving mistakes when they weren’t unravel-able human programming errors, but machine-learned misjudgments from annotated prerecorded scenes? I’ve been multitask monitoring these out of the corner of my eye while listening with my Bose. They’ll have my full attention now.So sometime during your working-remotely weekday—donned in your tie and slippers—take the time you’ve spent staring at brake lights to clean some spark plugs, take that out-of-the-way sentimental drive, read a chapter of an intimidating car book, and watch a few videos that expand your mind. And be sure to do it before the CARonavirus gets cured.Images courtesy of Brian Nguyen.The post The CARonavirus List: Things Car Enthusiasts Can Do With Their Extra Time [] appeared first on MotorTrend [].

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