Thursday, February 12, 2009

Which Way Is Up?

So I was headed to my Bible study, guided by Terry's new GPS unit. It carefully directed me out of my subdivision. Turn right, go out. Not a big challenge. After turning right in the subdivision, it informed I had .4 miles to go before turning left. It warned me again at .1 mile and then ordered me to turn left. The thing sounded so know-it-all and smug. Like I couldn't figure out that going straight would land me in Lake Monroe sitting there in front of me. Duh!
I dutifully turned left out of the subdivision, and the unit immediately announced that I had .5 miles before turning left again. But here's where my backup plan came in. Turning left would eventually take me to construction. But if I drove a little further ahead, I could hop on the I-4 westbound. That would take me to 46A (not to be confused with 46). Then I would end up a little south of Susan's home, and I was sure I could find my way back up to her place from there. And if I was unsure of a turn, the GPS would help keep me from getting lost. It was a perfect plan. At least, it would have been a perfect plan if the GPS unit were actually a person and I could have communicated with it. Instead it was constantly playing catch-up. And since it didn't know my ultimate plan, it wasn't able to give me clear directions to do what I wanted to do. It could only give me clear directions for what it wanted me to do.
"In .1 mile, turn left."
I accelerated a little. Too late, I realized that this machine is not subtle. It does not pick up on passive-aggressiveness.
"Turn left."
The machine announced the order proudly, like no one else could have known where to turn. I drove straight through the intersection.
"Turn left."
Now that was dumb. I was now in the middle of the intersection. To follow the directions of the GPS unit, I would have had to cut across several lanes of traffic. Way to cause an accident, stupid machine!
"Recalculating." Did I detect a hint of resignation in its tone? "In .2 miles, turn left."
Yes, I could see the entrance ramp to the freeway. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. After getting on the freeway, the machine directed me to take the next exit. But that wasn't the exit I wanted. I accelerated past it. The machine did not comment. Had I discouraged it so soon? I glanced at the screen. It showed me taking the exit. I momentarily panicked. I mean, I was only 2-3 miles from home. I wasn't lost. But I wasn't quite sure of where I was going. It would be hard enough to figure it out on my own, but it would be much more difficult if this thing was giving me directions when it didn't even know where I was going. And if it had me a different road from where I actually was ...
If only it would have occurred to me to unplug the machine completely! But it didn't. We were in this together no matter what.


  1. Too funny! I've always wanted one of those things, but after this story...I'm not so sure!! I've been getting around just fine without it this long....

  2. Aren't those things great, even if they are annoying sometimes! :) We often used our GPS to find theose churches that were located in remote areas while on deputation. However, we turned the volume off and just watched the screen. Of course as co-pilot, it was my duty to tell Tim when and where to turn.


Well don't just stand there! Say something! : )

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