Thursday, July 5, 2007

GPS unplugged~

I had a little argument today. With my GPS. I was headed to visit my son in a city 60 miles north, an hour and fifteen minutes away. It took me longer than this.

I listened to my GPS. The GPS, a gift from my husband, is insurance that I'll arrive where I'm trying to go. Before the GPS, I arrived late, after trial and error, use of reverse gear, U-turns, and some swearing. And phone calls.

Driving, for me, is like playing a game of chess where only a few spaces at a time are revealed. Apparently I'm one of those people with poor ability to form a "mental map."

Call it what you will-- a weakness, a problem, a disability-- coupled with the fact that I confuse left and right, it makes for a round-about trip.

But the GPS has been great. Until today. There is something extremely stubborn about artificial intelligence. And to be fair, I can be stubborn too. We didn't see eye to eye.

In retrospect, I realize it was trying to take me by the most direct route as the crow flies. I was trying to take myself by my blurry mental map, albeit a longer way. When I left home and it said, "Go right." I said, "What?"

I got lost one other time when I didn't trust the GPS. My husband said, "That's why you have the thing. Next time listen to it." So, I did at first, but I grew anxious, and did what I haven't done since I got it. I called him.

"Bruce? This GPS is telling me to go the wrong way. I really don't trust it. At all."

He confirmed my mental map would do the trick, so I ignored Miss GPS. Ha!

But she wouldn't shut up. She kept patiently "recalculating" and entreating me to exit the highway and fly with her crow. Finally, out of insecurity, second-guessing myself, I did.

I could hear her breathe a sigh of relief; I got where I was going not much later than a normal person.

The visit with Jesse was half as long as the time it took me to get home.

I had told Bruce, "I'm going to follow its exact directions home." It sounds simple, but people who need these gadgets are the ones least able to utilize them properly.

It told me, "In point two miles, turn right."

Okay, but there is a right turn now, at point one mile, and I don't see one ahead. I better take this. What one tenth of a mile? It must mean this right turn.

"Recalculating," it said. Did I detect annoyance? These GPSs are such sticklers for accuracy.

Okay, my bad. But with the impatient Massachusetts drivers honking at me . . . there isn't much time to make a decision. We worked together, the GPS recalculating when her directions were so poor that I couldn't follow them. Geez, for a $200.00+ piece of technology . . .

It only took me three hours to get home. Don't ask! It was just a little disagreement, and I lost.

How it all began: Mother's Day GPS

The Resolution: Out of the forest

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