I have two different kinds of GPS apps on my iPhone. I also have a glove compartment full of maps my well-meaning dad gave me when I first started driving. Given my unique ability to get lost even when driving through my own tiny 27 mile hometown, I’m sure he figured I’d need the help.
What he didn’t figure was my total lack of directional ability. Frankly, when it comes to reading maps, I’m about as hopeless as Chris Brown at a NOW convention. It just ain’t gonna work.
Usually, I can find my way around town via Google Maps, which I tend to send to my email before embarking on any unknown routes, since I don’t always trust the version on my iPhone to know exactly where I am when I’m already moving. I’ve already had far too many screeching u-turns to catch a left at a stop sign I’d already passed two blocks before the list of directions even loaded. Trust me, a talking (and rapidly updating) GPS device has been on my birthday wish list since the things were invented.
But, until my constant lost lateness wears someone I love down enough to merit them shelling out for a fancy GPS system, I’m sorry to say I won’t know the pain Michelle Slatalla details in this week’s excellent edition of the Wife/Mother/Worker/Spy column in the New York Times. In it, Slatalla mourns the loss of getting lost, and bemoans the fact that once you know exactly how to get where you’re going, you never really get to explore the journey again.
It’s a poignant piece, as most of her writing usually is, and it almost made me glad that despite my constant connectivity, I still have one weakness that even all my wireless technology can’t fix. Maybe my sheer inability to master modern technology’s virtual guarantee that you can go anywhere and never got lost again is actually a good thing. Maybe it means I get to enjoy the journey just a little bit more than all those linear people who understand directions and get places on time. Maybe if I could just stop cursing and sweating about my lateness long enough to stop and smell the exhaust fumes I might be able to appreciate my travels more than all those other drivers clogging up the freeways with their GPS-recommended routes. Or maybe someone should just hurry up and get me a damn GPS device already.