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A map never hurt anyone

Posted: March 25, 2014 9:14 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2014 5:00 a.m.

In this changing world, I occasionally find myself looking for the things that last. What I mean is, basically everything from the way we do business to entertainment to communication has been revolutionized over the past 20 to 30 years with the advent of computers and the Internet. Computers are awesome, but there are times you just need a person rather than a machine to help you out.

Consider your cell phone for a moment and you know what I’m talking about. I am amazed and often pleased by the various tasks I can accomplish with my phone. The existence of email, in general, is just … amazing, but to have it on your phone -- that’s superb! I like technology, love it, for the simplicity and enhancement it gives my life, but I’m not good at discussing it. It’s just something I kind of step back from and think, “wow, that’s phenomenal.”

All that said, my utter appreciation expressed, I also have some hesitations. In fact, there are situations where technology makes me a little frustrated, if not nervous. For example, when it comes to my GPS, I’ve been lost enough times in my life to truly appreciate this gadget.

However, there was a time when my GPS took me down a dirt road to the driveway of a home and tried to pass it off as an elementary school. I was in an unfamiliar town and trying to pick up a friend’s child from school. She’d been kept late at work and called me in a panic and I’d replied, “No problem, I’ll just GPS it.” My friend said OK, but noted that the school was “out there.”

I knew something had gone awry when I turned onto a road with no road sign. “Out there” is one thing, but unmarked is quite another. However, my GPS optimistically said I was on track and in two miles I’d be taking a left, and then a right and I’d be there. When the left was onto a dirt road, my stomach started to churn. Oh no, this is not right. But, I kept going. I wasn’t ready to give up on the old Garmin just yet.

With the final right turn into the driveway of what was clearly a home, I knew I was good and lost. Funnily enough, the homeowners were outside and waved at me to stop. I was pretty nervous, from all the movies I’ve watched over the years where a girl makes a wrong turn and ends up in a Texas chainsaw nightmare, so I didn’t know whether to stay or go. Luckily, the gentleman wasn’t a villain at all, but a sympathetic soul who’d seen several people make the same mistake I had made.

He explained the school had at one time been near where he lived, but it had been rebuilt in the last 10 years and was in a new location. He said I was not the first driver led astray by a GPS. “It’s better just to know where you’re going or to ask someone who knows,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more! However, we don’t always have that option. From further experiences with getting lost due to faulty GPS instructions, like when my friend Amanda and I walked four miles in Myrtle Beach to get to a specific restaurant only to end up at a (closed) Red Cross headquarters or the time I plugged in the address of a relative’s house and ended up in a cul-de-sac in a completely different neighborhood, I’ve determined it’s a good idea to have a tried and true map in hand when going to those far out destinations. A map never loses a signal and never runs out of battery power. In my case, the more directional aids I can use, the better.

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