Thursday, June 18, 2015

Story 87: Driving Without the GPS

            “Ready to roll?”
            “Let’s do this!”
            The two best buds set off in the driver’s car for the road trip of their lives: taking the interstate deep into the heart of grain country and ending at the site of the World’s Biggest Hole in the Wall.  They began their journey with a spring in their gas pedal, and a song in their hearts.
            About an hour into the quest, the driver knew that a road they needed to get onto was coming up soon, but there had been a strange lack of sound for a long time.
            “Could you check the GPS to see if the exit’s coming up?”  She asked while looking for road signs of any kind.
            “Uhhhh….” the passenger said as she searched through the inevitable debris an extended car ride collects.  “It’s not here.”
            The driver slammed on the brakes and they both lurched forward in their seats; thankfully, there were no other cars for miles and miles.  And miles.  Plenty of cattle, though.
            “What do you mean, ‘It’s not here’?!”  The driver screeched, along with the tires.  “Didn’t you have it with you when we got into the car?!”
            “I thought you were going to bring it since you were driving,” the passenger volleyed back.
            “Oh no – oh no – oh no – oh no – oh no – ”  The driver was almost literally going blind with panic.
            “Relax, I printed the directions, we have about another three miles before the turn-off,” the passenger said.
            “Printed directions?  Printed directions?!  What if it’s taking us a long way?  What if it’s taking us the wrong way?  What if I miss the sign for the turn-off?  What if we lose our way and I don’t know how to get us back?”
            “What if the GPS loses the satellite signal?  What if it takes us down roads that don’t exist anymore because the system hadn’t been updated in years?  We’d be in the same situation!”
            “Those things never happen to anybody!  At least never to me.”
            “Fine,” the passenger said, popping open the glove compartment.  “Let’s look at the map.”
            “Map?  I have a map in there?”
        “Apparently a 20-year-old one, judging from the disintegration rate of the paper.”  The passenger opened it up fully across the dashboard.  “OK, we’re here,” she pointed to a spot on the page, “and we need to turn off at that exit there.  See?  Three miles, just like I said.”  The driver blinked as she stared at the map.  “You can’t read this at all, can you.”
            “All I see are lines!  Hideous, hideous lines!”
          “Yes, how did our ancestors from so long ago ever navigate the interstate without a voice telling them to turn in 0.5 miles?”
            “Well, I refuse to navigate by the stars, at any rate.”
            “Ah, that’s actually very easy.”
            “Says you!  It’s 10:00 in the morning!  There won’t be any stars out for hours!”
            “OK, see, turn around and look out the back window,” the passenger said as she turned the driver’s head.  “What’s that big yellow thing in the sky there?”
            “The sun – oh.”
            “Oh yeah, the sun, otherwise known as a star, and it’s behind us, so that means we’re going west, which is exactly the direction we want to be going!”
            “Sun’s not going to tell me when the exit’s coming up, though,” the driver grumbled as she released the brake and accelerated again.
            “Think of this as old-school navigation,” the passenger said, “using only a map, very specific directions, and extremely helpful road signs to get us to our destination.  Ooh look, there’s one coming up, saying our exit’s now in two miles!”
            “I suppose you’re right.  I’m going to be on edge for the rest of the trip, though – I just can’t help it.  I’m deprived of my electronic crutch.”
            “Just another example proving my point about humanity: after bending nature almost entirely to its will, it really is the only species who found survival not enough of a challenge anymore and had to invent hardships.”


  1. good point. when technology fails (and sometimes it does) it pays to have someone who (gasp) read a map; or thought to print the directions. I had a good laugh as I have been in that situation. Thanks God my father taught me to read a map(the old ways are still good.

  2. Exactly! I had the same panic myself recently, but thankfully had printed directions and can pretty much read a map :-). Thanks!