I appreciate your post. I honestly, sincerely, appreciate your post. Much of it is again, "what Paul says is kata isn't what kata is", as I understand your post --- and I don't necessarily disagree with that. I regret using the k-word and should have begun with Thorton's terminology, which is "introduction stage".
I'll conceed that the car example wasn't a good one and let it go at that. In the past, I've often used sporting examples or examples from other martial arts/styles and tend to receive 3 or 4 posts about aikido not being a sport (can't win for losing....). And I agree that at this point were talking about definitions, not processes.
As for 8th dan, well, when you get there, let me know and I'll buy you a pint (or two).