LESLIE CRISS: Technological tool has power to drive one over the edge

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bush beside you are not lost.”
– Albert Einstein

When I say I am technologically impaired, I am as serious as Al Gore is about global warming.
That said, I purchased recently a GPS (Global Positioning System) to keep in my car to help me navigate the highways and byways of Northeast Mississippi and beyond.
I did a little reading about my new GPS thinking I might begin to understand just how the thing works.
Here’s what I learned: I would need an advanced degree in physics, calculus, earth and space science and goodness-knows-what-else to even begin to comprehend.
I’ve also learned my GPS may not be as helpful as I thought she’d be.
Yes, I’ve assigned a feminine pronoun to this compact black box because it is a British woman’s voice that tells me how far to go and when to turn. It is that same voice that, I declare, sounds a bit exasperated when I don’t follow her directions and she is forced to say, “Recalculating.”
Long drive home
I went to a party Saturday night somewhere beyond the Auburn community. I asked the hostess for her address.
“My address is not recognized by any GPS,” she said, as she proceeded to give me directions. “If you get lost, just call and I’ll come get you.”
Well, her directions were good and even though it was getting dark, I reached my destination with no problem.
Getting back home, however, was another story completely.
Let me just say, I have a good sense of direction. I lived for a time in Los Angeles and never got lost.
But as I’ve gotten older, and especially after dark, I’ve found my good sense of direction in a slow state of decline.
So, as I left Star’s driveway, I turned on my GPS, pushed the button for “home” and trusted the old girl to get me safely back to east Tupelo.
Twenty minutes later, I was still taking a late-night driving tour of every street in the Auburn community which, I’m sure, is lovely, but it was dark and I just, by golly, wanted to go home.
And there was that voice – “Turn left, turn left, turn right, turn right, recalculating, recalculating.”
I confess I raised my voice at least once, telling my garrulous guide to stifle it, please.
But she was relentless and I was lost. So I continued to turn left and right and left and left until finally, thanks be to God, a Southern accented voice burst forth from the front passenger seat of my Pontiac.
“I know where we are. I’ve been to that bank. Just go to the stop sign, turn right, go straight ahead for a few miles and we’ll be back in east Tupelo,” said my traveling companion.
As my British guide began snippily repeating, “Recalculating, recalculating, recal …,” I reached up and ripped out her power source, silencing her.
Oh, I’m sure I’ll use her again, but I may not always follow her directions.
Sometimes it’s easier to just get myself home by another way.
Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@ djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.

Leslie Criss

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