Here's the Scoop: Feb. 18, 2009
Can’t find my way home
I doubt that there’s any statistical information on the topic yet, but it seems pretty certain that the popularity of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) has already begun saving marriages. In the event that you’re one of those folks who think they have a better sense of direction than a satellite-guided system, you’re wrong. And your marriage could be in trouble because of your stubborn nature. Get with it. Now. I speak from experience, of course.
This seems like a good time for full disclosure: I haven’t personally made an investment in a GPS. But I don’t hesitate to borrow one.
You see, I have a pretty good track record of getting to and from my office without ever really getting lost, even though it’s a five-mile trip with several route options. Given my less than stellar sense of direction, this is quite an accomplishment.
Time for help
So, when the going gets tough (leaving the county), I pretty much automatically get a loaner GPS, because I am a firm believer in the value of making round trips.
In the event that there are still a few folks out there who have not experienced the help offered by a GPS, it’s pretty simple: type in your starting point and your destination and the GPS tells you where to go. No, that’s not right. You’re told where to go if you don’t utilize a GPS. Right after you get lost for the third time.
With a GPS, every turn is shown on the screen and also audibly announced, if you don’t mind a semi-robotic voice guiding your steering.
I’m betting that the inventors of the GPS had no real idea of the domino-effect that this device would have on society. Sure, getting to places without taking 18 wrong turns is quite a benefit in its own right. But the impact on passengers cannot be overlooked.
When one eliminates the arguments caused by men (using statistical guides here) —A. Refusing to pay attention to where they’re going; B. Refusing to take suggestions from their spouse and C. Possessing the time-honored distaste to stop and ask for directions — marital harmony is certain to follow.
That is, of course, if the driver can restrain from trying to overrule the suggestions of the GPS. Although I like the comfort of having my route preprogrammed, there’s often an urge to want to take a route different from the recommended one. I know, this doesn’t make any sense.
Follow your instincts
Sometimes, these instincts can be justified — like in cases where you are following a familiar route and you know that, while the GPS is offering a plan that will get you to your destination, the shortcut you wish to follow is better.
I like to compare this to weather forecasts. I generally look at three forecasts and go with the one that suits me best.
Naturally, when the driver chooses to override the GPS’s directions, there’s a bit of peril involved. Unlike asking directions from a gas station attendant or someone out picking up their mail, the GPS is supposed to be 100 percent accurate. Taking one’s own path over the GPS route is a risky process. At least that’s what others tell me.
If you happen to hear any stories about me getting really, really lost over the weekend, well, they are probably exagerrated. After all, it’s nearly impossible to get lost with the assistance of a GPS. Unless you forget to borrow one...