The Proud PLX Chip

A Paradigm of Peripheral Component Interdependence.

Imagine a gargantuan garage at the beginning of this motorway, and at its end, the cavernous entrances to two further garages, equally epic in proportion. The motorway divides and eight lanes run into each.

These two garages have rewarding task to fulfil. To amicably receive road worn and weary automotive assemblages . Keep them warm and safe for a spell. Arrange a rub down and a refuel, then rev them up and route them back to garage 1.

However, when coerced to work together, the former car care homes become cantankerous and fastidious, randomly closing their doors in the headlights of vehicles they abhor the colour of and stubbornly refusing to part with those whose shade and shape sustains their spirit…only to change their mind a few moments later.

Garage 2: “Black cabs? Yes, please bring em in, Ah! listen to those delectable diesels, that ravishing rattle, music to my mechanics. What’s that? 2000 blue Audis and Alfas? No thanks, wouldn’t want to be mistaken as common, paint them pink and gold and I’ll reconsider. 500 white Vauxhalls? Any of those old Astra SRI’s? No? Well take em all way, have hundreds, but a purple Aston V5? Welcome all hours!

Garage 3: Got a stack of Red Toyotas and Fords here. Disgusting, Can’t stand them. Get rid of this lot. Quickly now! Come along! Need the space for some green BMWs and Mazdas. Sorry, no yellow or navy station wagons of any kind. Get out! Get out! Where’s that orange 911 I’ve been waiting for? What about my Cadillac 16.

Garage 1: Wohaa, getting a bit confused here guys. Stop it now. You’re scaring me. I can only talk to one of you at a time. Hey there dumb doors. I’ve got too many cars coming in, stop sending all these cars up in clusters, keep things consistent. I can find what you need if you’ll just be patient….yes, even the damned concept Cadillac.

That very night, a magic round about of infinite intelligence, empathy and diplomacy silently drifted across sixteen swaths of well worn tarmac. To the south, lies our two selective “motor-tels”, to the north, our besieged “auto barn”.

Sensing a terrible crises, the roundabout began to glow, slowly, sagaciously, with enough wisdom to humble the Roman cobbles of quaint country lanes, surrounded by silent limestone witnesses whispering tales of their mossy lineage.

Then, suddenly, in a spellbinding soliloquy of nervous energy, it twisted and trembled, sparkled and shone and one brief, blinding flash later, it had seamlessly fused itself  between the perilous pair and their hounded host.

As it did so, the sixteen Southerly roads rumbled a rapturous response, glimmered from end to end, then grew soft, undulating like tarry tentacles, each malleable to its master’s will.  Mere seconds had passed before the roundabout reverted to its state of silent repose and there with sage like patience did it dwell, until morning.

A New Dawn, A New Found Friend  

Magic roundabout: Don’t worry garage one. Have everything under control. garage three doesn’t want any grey hatchbacks at the moment but he is accepting brown ones. garage two’s happy with the silvers so just send the lot down to me and I shall delegate appropriately.

By the by, you’ve got a ton of turquoise transits heading your way. Fear not, I’ll keep them on rotation until you rid yourself of those yellow Camper Vans. Indeed, that’s correct, both our friends will take as many as you’ve got. Isn’t it nice to muddle through life.

Garage 1:  This is astounding, can you really do this indefinitely?  Talk and negotiate with those two, stay focused on their foolish fads and fulfil every last one? Just look at those lanes leap left and right, silken elegance with inner steel and not a car out of place.  Back and forth between them with such scintillating bravura and perfect precision, just as their doors will permit.  As for myself, my bays are always occupied but no more queues, no pile ups or clusters and the most convivial balance of clientèle imaginable, its miraculous.

Magic roundabout:  Oh, its no bother.  Simple motor mediation.  Its what keeps me from going…round the bend, when everything just works and all harbour happiness.

Garage 1:  But don’t you feel like your condoning prejudice a little.  I mean, I needed you because I could do no more, I had no choice.  They wanted you because they weren’t prepared to relinquish their’s in our interests and wanted more besides, a luxury which you have gifted them.

Magic Roundabout:   I strive to bring the least harm to the greatest amount at any given moment.  Its a crude and flawed philosophy but still the best I know of.  Precious seconds with your friends would soon be less minutes, even hours for all the cars nobody wants. I must dedicate all my powers to keeping them happy, for as long as I am able, be certain they feel appreciated.

When a car isn’t being serviced it should soar on smooth sublimity, stay warm, tell itself the story of every mile, give the journey meaning, and be comforted by the promise that its efforts will procure it a pampering.  That’s what I’m telling them over and over as they pass.  I have not the time left to look or hunt for opinions and even if I had, and managed to “find” or “catch” some some, I’d never use them, I don’t know how.

Garage 1: But opinions aren’t “caught” or “hunted”, they don’t amble about in the dappled day, like these cars. They have to be constructed, by us. When we look at things, talk to others, become familiar with what surrounds us, we think them them up.

Magic Roundabount:  But why, what do they do?

Garage 1:  What a strange question.  They help us communicate, make decisions, even teach us how to behave, what is right and what is wrong.

Magic Roundabout:  But we’ve been talking for hours, since sunrise, and I haven’t noticed any, what do they look like?

Garage 1:  Ha!  They don’t look like anything, one will “materialise” inside you when your thoughts or feelings about something, some other, or yourself are strong enough to allow it to exist. But they’re never visible, they come out of us as sound.  You hear them when we speak to each other.  And they don’t always have to come out, you can keep them inside you for future conversations.  

Sometimes they don’t need to be spoken at all, instead, they’ll make you behave in a certain way, or do something, it could be anything.

Garage 1:  You for instance happened to be passing.  You looked at us and our predicament, you thought, you considered, and an opinion occurred that we needed your help.   You made that opinion, composed it, formed it, all on your own because of what you saw and felt.  Then, to our good fortune, that opinion became strong enough for you to “act” on.  It made you decide to assist us.

Magic Roundabout:  No it didn’t.  I didn’t make or compose anything.  It was there the whole time and it wasn’t an opinion. From the instant I saw you I knew I could help and now here I am, helping.  So it was just, well, the truth.

Garage 1:  AH!  There’s another just then, you see how it works.

Magic Roundabout:  Another what?

Garage 1:  Another opinion. Your opinion.  That us needing help wasn’t an opinion, but the truth.

Magic Roundabout:  But it was only the truth, there never was an opinion because I never needed one to act, I’m merely doing what what I do all the time, bringing the least harm to the most.

Garage 1:  Listen, I’m about to have an opinion myself.   Here it comes.  I agree with you that it was the truth. There it was, did you hear it.  Now, here’s another.  Not only do I think us needing your help was true, I also believe that your decision to help us was right and not wrong.  Believe, think and agree are three words we’ll often use when we’re creating our opinions.

Magic Roundabout:  Believe…think…agree.  I might know the middle one

Garage 1:  But if I were a different Garage, perhaps one of those two down there, and you another roundabout, all those opinions that we’ve just created , communication or acted upon, might have also been different.  Another roundabout might have looked, thought, decided we didn’t need help and done nothing.

Magic Roundabout:  But none of that is true either, I am me, you are you and I couldn’t have decided you didn’t need help because it wasn’t true, so what would have been the use?

Garage 1:  Quite so, to convey yet another of my opinions.  But do you believe or agree that there are other roundabouts not so brave, so affable, not in the least inclined to involve themselves in another’s crises and so willing to disregard their own well being to alleviate their distress, reward them with such priceless, life altering gifts as the privilege of choice, or freedom to function and facilitate as “nature” intended?

Magic Roundabout:  I’ve encountered one or two others but I  still don’t see room for an opinion.  They are merely trying to do exactly the same as I, afford the most the least harm they are able, but in a different way.

Garage:  I’m curious, what possible way could that be?

Magic Roundabout:  By deciding not to assist, of course.

Garage 1:  I’m afraid I sense no logic there, how could a decision not to aid in so dire a situation ever give rise to less harm?

Magic Roundabout:  Logic is its very essence.  They realise that if they attempted to help, they’d actually make things worse.  The task to appease a mass of mechanical moroseness, to assuage every restless rev is one riddled with ramifications if not for a resounding realization of one’s rotational resilience. The knowledge to fulfil it stems from when logic has matured and met with experience, it is a lesson learned and never taught, other then by one’s own wisdom.  Look at them, their sizes and shapes, curves and colours.  Every chassis unique to an era and sculpted by the wear of time.

I need not teach a garage to tender tyres but consider their tactility when wheels are in motion on your skin, and their host not stationary.  The tread and thickness as varied as the vehicle itself and the vibrations it embodies.  The hum of a hatchback, the the roar of a road train, their wandering weights,  soft, stiff and supple suspensions.

Things could go wrong at the drop of a distributor.  Some might slip, lanes will lead astray unless meticulously managed and to a wilderness instead of sanctuary.  When to promise and provide all your personal routes to redemption? And how to continue to exist in failure of any magnitude?  Only when instincts implore us,  shall we intercept.  Until then, abstention is our least damaging course of action and as harmful to as few as possible.  So please tell me, how many opinions have you counted now?

Garage One:  More than these yellow camper vans I’m sending you.

Magic Roundabout:  And here come the turquoise transits.

Three nights later, a tenacious typhoon tears down the motorway and sweeps our tertiary garage into its murderous maw. By sunrise, no trace of it remained . A bed of rich, red soil reclined where it had stood, the surrounding grass shimmering in a sensuous summer breeze. Garage two heaved a long sigh.

Garage 2. I feel bad. These last few days, they’ve been so inspiring, we were becoming an unbeatable team, me with my Middleton Pink Porsche Spyders and Primrose Yellow Pagani Zondas. Him…with his very slightly lighter than Royal Blue Maybach Acceleros and ever so subtly darker than tea chest brown Bugatti Veyron’s and…no…strange how he never did get that Cadi.

Garage 1: It’s here, gleaming,willing and able. I’ve had it for weeks. I was just waiting for the right opportunity to roll it his way. No fleeting moment would have been more fitting than the present one…now all is in the cruel past.

Garage 2: That’s ok, I’ll take it, in his honour. And hence forth, I won’t be such as snob. I’ll widen my vision. I’ll eagerly welcome every mechanically propelled marvel you wish. I’ll coax them, comfort them, change their oil. I’ll serve them heavenly concoctions of lead and liqueurs, even give them a polish and a new coat of paint. I’ll make amends, be the best garage this side of…..where are we anyway?

Magic Roundabout: Erm. Excuse me. Is my presence no longer required? Do you want me to leave? Please, don’t make me redundant. I love it here. I want to stay and I’m not sure I have the strength to pry myself from these lanes. I’ve never believed in fate but its as though I was destined to be here

Garage 1: My dear friend, I shall not hear of your departure. These last three days have been a revelation and brought nothing but joy besides. You might well have saved us years of tortuous quarrels.

Magic Roundabout: Perhaps but, you do realise all those cars. Every single one you two send each other, they’ll still have to go through me. What if I slow you down?

Garage 1: Oh what’s a little latency in such glorious sunshine. More time to talk, to set the world to rights and moreover, who knows, one day, they may build another garage.

Cast In Order of Analogy.

Garage One was the CPU.  

Garages two and three, a deluxe duo of Nvidia’s pictorial princes, or AMD’s visionary virtuosi.  

The roundabout was our chivalrous PLX chip.  

The motorways were the PCI lanes and the cars, the data distributed to them.