A. Catherine Noon here. I’m a big proponent of maps. I don’t just mean MapQuest or Google Maps, either – I mean actual sheet maps. I still miss my Gazeteer, a spiral-bound street-by-street atlas I used in Los Angeles and Orange County. You could find anything with that thing.
So, my friends say to me, they sez, “Noony, use the GPS.”
Lemme tell you ’bout GPS.
The first time, we were in Philadelphia, heading from the church to the reception for my brother-in-law’s wedding. We were heading there on the highway.
“Take the next exit at the airport.”
We did. I dutifully drove around the ring road for the airport. ALL THE WAY AROUND THE AIRPORT.
“Take the next highway entrance.”
And we got back on the highway.
My husband, losing his temper, threw my phone onto the back seat and pulled out his phone. And promptly got us lost in some suburban hell where we could see the reception building but there was the small problem of a large river and no bridge between it and us.
So I called my other brother-in-law, who found us and agreed to lead us there.
We dutifully followed him all the way up a hill to a stop sign.
Where he promptly turned around and went back the other way.
When we finally arrived, my father-in-law was waiting for us. “What took you guys so long?”
I won’t repeat what I wanted to say. It’s not printable, and not something one says to one’s father-in-law.
Yes, the eff word was in the sentence. Duh.
And then there was the vacation to Michigan. My husband happily pulled out his fancy – expensive – smartphone and called up the GPS. We went wandering down this one street, and I do mean down – it went down, and around, and I shit you not, over a river – and not to Grandma’s house! No, to the friggin’ police station, thank you very much.
I pulled around behind the police station and… I kid you not, it was the County Mental Health facility.
When I called the hotel, the very nice woman on the phone told me, “Oh, yeah, Google always mistakes us for that police station. Here’s what you have to do.” We weren’t even in the right town.
So you’ll forgive me if I don’t exactly trust GPS.
Trust, but verify.
And learn how to fold a sheet map back up.
What about you, Dear Reader? Map or no map?
– E.E. Cummings
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