07 August 2008

You can't get there from here*

I am beginning to believe we are the last two people on Earth with cars that do not have a GPS navigation system. Once hubby and I buy a TomTom 2000 or a Garvin DLX or a BillyBob's GPS Xtreme with Raspberry Swirl Flavor Crystals**, they can just stop producing them.

But we haven't bought one yet. Nor did we pay extra to have one in our rental car last week.

I do have a phone with Google Maps. I can plug in a starting address and a destination address and it will walk me through directions, noiselessly (read: without the aggressive voice that says "You missed the exit! For the love of god, turn around now!")

And, I know, that by virtue of having this phone, I am "on the grid" and the secret phone police can find me at any point.*** But I have yet to figure out how to make my phone locate where the heck I am for me and plug the address into the directions.

This can be problematic. We spent some time last week like this:

Hubby: Call up your Google Maps.
Me: Okay. It's up... *65 keystrokes later* I've plugged in the destination address. Now, where are we?
Hubby: I dunno.
Me: Me, either.
Hubby: See any street signs?
Me: Nope. Think one of those goats over there can help?****

We did take precautions for some of the trip: Hubby printed out a series of directions from one remote location to another or as close as we could get (one of the places we were wasn't known to Google--how's THAT for remote?!)

At some point the printed directions said to travel "207 ft" to the next turn. 207 ft?! My odometer doesn't do feet.***** Why not just say <.1 mile? I imagine someone getting out of the car with a ruler. Or hanging out a window with one of those snappy advance/retract tape measurey doohickeys saying "Keep going... keep going..."

* Years ago, I knew someone who worked inside the entrance of a state park. Let's call it X Park. People would drive right past the huge sign that said "Welcome to X State Park" in 4000 font and up to my friend who was in a park uniform. They'd ask, "Can you tell me how to get to X Park?" He'd say, "Sorry, you can't get there from here." And, you know what? I think he was right.

** Sure, the crystals burn a little, but I like that.

*** Not that there's anything wrong with secret phone police. I think they're wonderful. I've always said that. You can ask anybody. Please, don't shoot me.

**** Goats are great once you get past the smell. They like to barter. Note to self: Next time offer goats limited edition soda can collection in exchange for directions.

And I subscribe to the Barbie theory on math.


Beth said...

I don't have a GPS either.

But I must admit, i'm a little sad about that.

I'm trying really hard not to jump on the GPS bandwagon.

But... I can't help but want one.

Lemmonex said...

I have lived in DC 9 years and I got lost downtown yesterday. I am so directionally challenged, it is shameful. I need a GPS implanted in my brain.

Kristin said...

I don't have a GPS. It was pretty handy to have one last year in the south of France (my dad brought one for the car and one for walking on a family trip), but I managed to read the map just fine. Emily (the GPS with a feminine, clipped English accent) and I competed to get us wherever we were going. I recomputed to include Santa Pantaleone on any given day faster than she did.

Bilbo said...

We bought a GPS unit a few years ago, but it sort of died when we were randomly pushing buttons trying to make it unfreeze. Now I just print out questions from MapQuest before I go more than 100 yards from anyplace I know. It's the best option, since I don't speak goat.

Narm said...

I don't have GPS either...or a sense of direction. I just put an extra hour on every trip for getting lost.

AbbotOfUnreason said...

I don't have a GPS, but I have a iPod Touch. It doesn't have GPS, but it connects to wi-fi and then can open a map to where I am.

I can't figure out how it knows where I am.

Gilahi said...

During my big birthday bash last year, my niece and her husband were using the maps on their phone to try to locate a specific restaurant. When they were at a spot with the Savannah River on one side of them, sand from the set of "Dune" on the other side, and ribbons of two-lane black top stretching out in either direction as far as they could see, it said, "You have arrived at your destination."

Kate said...

I'm all about the paper maps. I still love them and pour over them while pondering where I want to go. GPS systems to me are all about destination and I personally like the journey involved, you know?

rs27 said...

I have a mental GPS. I just know the right place to go. All the time.

Its uncanny.

Mostly because the right place is anywhere I am.


lacochran said...

Beth: I think it's just a matter of months before we break down and buy one.

Lemmonex: I am pretty good in some parts of DC but not so good in other parts--knowing it's a grid formation only helps so much when half the roads are one way and the other half are under construction! Plus, there are major roads in DC that in some places have no signage. None. You just have to intuit that this is your exit.

Kristin: You rock! Way to put Emily in her place!

Narm: You, too?

AbbottofUnreason: *whispers* It's the grid, man. The grid.

Gilahi: "Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware."--Martin Buber

Or maybe it was messed up.

Kate: Paper maps are mighty helpful. Atlases, divining rods, too.

rs27: "Wherever you go, there you are!" --lots of people

Sean said...

I don't have a GPS either or Tivo/DVR. In fact, I only bought a digital camera within the past six months. If there's some type of new technology, I'll probably be one of the last people to get it.

lacochran said...

I'm Tivo-less/DVR-less, too. I feel inadequate. Sigh.

Sudiegirl said...

I don't have GPS. I'm a big loser because I don't have GPS, right?

Pee Ess: You're on my blogroll, kid.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Sudiegirl: If you are then I am.
PS Thanks! You're very kind.