Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Miss Directions

I don't have a GPS, so it was quite a disconcerting experience for me to drive a car that had one. My friend Gidget had programmed her GPS to get us to this restaurant. I've been there before; she hadn't. While I was driving her car, I was surprised when a female voice said, "Your exit is coming up. Prepare to take the next exit!"

"Wow," I said, "that was something..."

"I know!," my friend, Gidget, replied, "I love this thing! I never have to worry about getting lost! You should get one!"

"Eh, I don't know. I do just fine," I said.

She laughed and said, "You still have a road atlas in your car! Get with the times, grandpa! Get a GPS." She was right. I still carried a road atlas; it was three years old, but it still worked well for me.

I smiled and said, "Hey, I don't have a problem with getting lost. And if I did, no big deal. I'll eventually find my way around."

She laughed and said, "Trust me, I never have to worry about getting lost with this baby."

Oh, but she spoke too soon.

I was going to keep going straight and ignore the GPS, when it stated, "Exit now. And make a left turn left under the overpass."

I told Gidget, "You know, I usually take another exit further down to get to the restaurant."

"Oh, just follow the GPS," said Gidget, "it knows the best way to get there."

As if it was agreeing to what Gidget said, the GPS announced, "You must exit now." And I did. But when we got to the overpass, the left side was blocked off for construction! Still, the GPS said, "Make a left turn under the overpass."

I looked at Gidget, one eyebrow raised and smirked, "Um, that way is blocked by construction, so we can't turn there."

Gidget looked at me, then looked at the closed off road. She sighed and said, "Well, now what?"

I smiled and said, "Don't worry, I know another way there. We'll just take a side street up ahead. It'll only be another ten minutes to our drive."

But as I started to go straight, the GPS announced, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I ignored the voice and kept going straight. But the GPS kept saying, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I asked Gidget, "Is there anyway to turn this thing off?"

Gidget said,"Yeah sure." But as she fidgeted with the controls, the GPS kept saying, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

It was getting annoying, and I swear, I thought I heard the GPS starting to sound angry as it repeated, "You're going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I couldn't help but think, good gawd! The machines are taking over! Any second now, it's going to say 'Resistance is futile! You will comply!' And then it's going to assimilate my friend and me.

Luckily, Gidget turned it off, and we laughed about it at the restaurant afterward. But still, the whole experience was mildly disturbing. It's one thing to have back seat drivers tell you where to drive. It's totally another matter when it's the car telling you where to go. I think I'll stick to my atlases for now. I don't have to worry about them telling me to drive and crash into construction.


  1. Good point about blocked off roads - I'd never thought of that wrt GPS. You are right that it's all getting a bit creepy.

  2. Its becuase you had it switched to female personality mode , all the indicators were there , going completely the wrong way ... getting uptight when you don't do what they tell you :-)

  3. I simply can NOT leave a comment here ever again until Beast apologizes for the bicycle incident.

    He is persona non grata to me now.

  4. you know, they make GPS thingamabobs that calculate new routes if you make a wrong turn. Clearly your friend has a crap one.

    My dad has a Garmin and it the best thing since sliced bread. It does everything but make coffee.

  5. Snooze, it was creepy! And I kept thinking, it's a good think I know where I'm going, or I'd've been crap out of luck!

    Beast, that's why I was ignoring her... ;)

    MJ, I've seen the bike; it's a very nice shade of pink, but I couldn't see a GPS on it underneath all the bells and whistles...

    CP, I just thought it was hilarious how the stupid GPS was telling me to go the wrong way...repeatedly! Gidget might have had a crappy model or she didn't know how to reprogram it :)

    I'm still a little leary of GPS; now I hear there're models that help other GPS users track down your whereabouts! I don't need other people knowing where I go at two in the morning! It's like having the creepy stalkerazzi follow you around!

    *puts on dark shades and hat and walks out nonchalantly*

  6. Oh oh oh. Where are you going at 2 in the morning?


  7. Oh man, if that thing talked to me throughout my drive I'd smash it. I don't even like it when my mom is in the next seat and giving me directions.

    Unless they make a GPS device that has ultra high intuition and knows about construction, I'm using Yahoo Maps to follow directions.

  8. CP, the and there...just enjoying a little late night drive, possibly a taco run, perhaps following up on a call... ;)

    Tara, I use Yahoo maps, too when I go somewhere unfamiliar! Now they have models that can adjust your route if traffic slows down...still, it was a little eerie having a machine telling me where to go, and it was disturbing when it told me to drive right into a crash!

  9. Do you think that is Air that you are breathing Neo?
    This is exactly how the Matrix is trying to get us to trust the 'machines'...
    or maybe the system is improving methods to monitor our activities?

    We're definitely going the wrong way. Donations will be gratefully accepted by the Neo-Luddite Association...hey my computer just made a funny buzzing noise...what the..

  10. Don, I'm sending a rescue team, as soon as they find the right trench coats and shades and an Asian man who makes, this might take a while...