My brother and brother-in-law recently got a GPS for their car so they can more easily navigate road trips.  We went on a road trip together on the weekend, and by the end of the day, I wasn't convinced the GPS made the trip easier.  The nice GPS lady who would tell us to "turn right in 250 meters" never made us drive into a lake or anything, but by the end of the five hour trip I was pretty fed up with the way we were relying on it for everything we were doing.  In retrospect, my brother was trying out a new gadget, so I should have expected that it would be a main focus of our trip.  I also should have had a coffee before I left the house that morning.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

It all started with radio interference.  My brother's GPS system runs through his laptop.  The laptop allows for a bigger screen and direct access to his iTunes playlist.  We set out on the road with the GPS lady directing us and some Thompson Twins rocking us along.  But then: "what is that sound?"  We had to pull over so Dave could figure it out.  After ten minutes of fiddling with it he diagnosed that the power outlet that was charging the laptop was causing interference with the car radio.  So no iTunes while the laptop was charging.  The GPS lady could still speak to us through the internal laptop speakers, so not all was lost.

One of the places the GPS directed us to was a town called Bala.  We found a nice park where we stopped to eat lunch, foregoing the GPS actually announcing that we had arrived in Bala. When we were ready to leave, the nice GPS lady kept trying to direct us back to Bala. "Make a U-turn" she kept saying, as she didn't realize we were already there and trying to leave.  We pulled over again so it could get figured out.  Dave kept updating our route information, trying to get it to abandon it's desire to head to Bala.  I got out of the car and took photos because I couldn't watch him fight with the GPS anymore.  I was probably overly irritated due to my lack of coffee intake that day as I mistakenly assumed that the GPS would find me a Tim Horton's somewhere early in our road trip.  It just so happens that we drove through the only part of Ontario that doesn't have thirty Tim Horton's in a row.  I would have gotten a coffee elsewhere, but I kept holding out for a Tim's to show up (they always do!).

Our day trip took us in a giant loop with the final destination being Orillia.  Having spent several summers working in Orillia, I knew for sure that they would have the Tim Horton's I so desperately wanted, possibly even fifty of them.   Regardless of my familiarity with Orillia, "Tim Horton's" was typed into the GPS.  The GPS lady modified our route just as we passed the highway exit she instructed us to take.  No worries, there would be another soon.  And it just so happened that the next Tim Horton's off the highway had a sign that directed traffic to it!  All we had to do to get there was follow the giant blue signs with the Timmy's logo on them. This is precisely when I had my "haven't-had-a-coffee-yet-and-I'm-annoyed-with-the-GPS-freak-out."  The conversation went like this:
GPS: In 250 Meters, turn left on West Street
Dave: Is the GPS trying to direct us back to the Tim Horton's we already passed, or is it directing us to a different one?  Because I don't want to drive all through town.  Maybe we should update it?
Dave: Wow, Jen is freaking out!
Me (upon seeing the entrance to the Tim's): In 250 meters turn left into the Tim Horton's!
I got my coffee and I stopped fighting the future.  Don't get me wrong, I think the GPS is an amazing resource and I am overwhelmed by all it knows and all it is capable of.  I just don't want the nice GPS lady to tell me where to go...especially if I already know how to get there!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 No comments


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