Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Adventures with a GPS

I've always been directionally challenged. I've come to accept it as one of those weaknesses that I just can't help (not being able to sing being another one, but we'll save that one for another post)…I can try and try and try but I just don't have what it takes. Lest you think I'm exaggerating about how poor my sense really is, just ask my brother Nate who one time jumped out of the car in frustration because I'd asked him one too many times which way I needed to turn. Or my grandmother who came to babysit us while my parents went on a trip. My parents had assured her that I could direct her to church on Sunday…good thing Kristina was there.

So when I started hearing about GPS units a few years back, I got really excited. These were definitely invented for people like me. How fun it would be to always know exactly where you are in the world. Not only which street and city, but exact latitude and longitude too…right up my alley!

All these years I've admired this new technology from afar—afar being from the back seat of my parent's cars and wondered how this would change my own life. Instead of trying to read my mapquest print-out at stop lights or even worse while driving down the freeway, I could have a pleasant, patient voice telling which way to go—turn by turn. But alas, modern technology is expensive and we've just never been able to justify owning one of these wonders.

So when I got to Oklahoma City and found that the only car available on such short notice was a Hummer, and it came with a GPS unit, I definitely was not disappointed. Three of us were sharing the cool set of wheels, Pete, Heather, and me. My sister, Heather's flight did not arrive until midnight (that would be 1am by my eastern body), which left us with only one simple task at this point. Drive straight from the airport to the hotel, which we were assured was not very far and easy to find.

So we eagerly type in the hotel's address to the GPS unit and confidently start on our way. We should've been a little wary by the split second delay in the vocal instructions, which told us which way to turn just AFTER passing by the turn off. But she (a pleasant woman's voice) was so patient as she said, "Recalculating" each time we passed by yet another turn…each time throwing the three of us into fits of hysterical laughter (a little late night giddiness).

Well after about an hour and a half of driving, lots of recalculating, and being thrown into the middle of a run-down rural neighborhood and our ever friendly GPS telling us to turn into the Comfort Inn parking lot on our right (right street name—wrong universe), we broke down and called Dad. He gave us simple directions that took us back towards the airport and right into the parking lot, simple as that. So much for modern technology!

But at least we were in a cool car!


Twinkies said...

That was a night/morning I will never forget (but wish that I could forget)! It was because of that experience that I did NOT want add the navigation system to our new car.

Just the thought of hearing that voice say "recalculating" sends chills up my spine.

Aitch said...

You forgot to mention my wonderful map-reading skills :o)

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