I Am Where I’m Going

I’m not ready to purchase GPS for my automobile navigation needs. It’s not an anti-technology thing. It’s mostly pride and a little that I want to turn the radio up and sing and not listen to someone ordering me around.

My driving happens in Cincinnati (the tri-state area if I’m counting occasional forays to the far suburbs and near counties). I’ve lived here my whole life while I don’t know all the street names (‘cause c’mon!), I have a lifetime of local travel to draw on.

My general sense of direction is very good. I’m often headed toward my destination, but I’m taking the weirdest route to get there.

[My directional “challenges” turn out to be a metaphor for how I run my life.]

Since I tend to just need the last couple of turns, I can’t justify “real” GPS, but I will occasionally stoop to using my phone and Google Maps. I still try to do it myself without having the voice directions on.

This is how I usually get where I’m going. I head off somewhere, armed with a street address and way too much confidence. When I get to where I think I’m supposed to be, it often turns out I’ve miscalculated. This always comes as a surprise to me. To correct the situation, I turn around and try the path out one or two more times. Maybe I’ll look at the address again. Maybe I will grudgingly resort to a Google map, but at this stage, I’m all turned around. And then, without warning, I literally say out loud (even if I’m alone in the car), “Oh. There it is.” I say it as if the previous 5 minutes never happened. And if I’m not alone, I get some unbelievable eye rolls sent my way.

Sometimes, even when I’m on a regular route, I still “get lost.” Well, more accurately, I don’t get lost as much as I forget to make a turn or turn too soon (maybe because I’m singing to the radio, or thinking about that one thing I should have said to the bartender that would have been way funnier than what I actually said). Anyway, when I realize I’m off course, I don’t need GPS to tell me what to do. I want to correct my own mistake. All I need to do is find a road I’m familiar with so I can begin again. I have an uncanny way to finding a new starting point and this, too, comes with out-loud commentary: “Oh. Look. It’s ________ road. Now I know where I am.”

The thing about GPS is that it is programmed to take you on the most efficient route, not the most interesting one. Clearly, I could improve some of my regular routes, but does The Google know I like driving through Winton Woods even though it adds time to my drive? No. The Google doesn’t know everything!

The other day, I was in no hurry heading to a new address with Google Maps with the voice on. (I know, I’m weak.) As soon as I heard Google say I was on the fastest route I was like, “Oh yeah? How about now?”, I turned and made it reroute me, and then I did it again. I ended up at my destination 9 minutes later than the fastest route, but I also got to drive on Walton’s Creek Road (which I didn’t know existed). The Walton’s Creek detour meant my head automatically played the Walton’s (tv show) theme music and I said “goodnight John Boy” when I turned onto the next road. Turns out, even if I have GPS, I’m still taking my wayward route.

One thought on “I Am Where I’m Going

  1. Use the WAZE app on your phone for directions, and you can choose between 3 routes to get different places and none of them have to use an expressway. The app also gives you the option of marking different things on the road for others. I use it to mark the locations of police cars, car wrecks, and roadkill.

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