The Magic of GPS

On August 23, 2012 by Greg

My old friend Steve (hi Steve) commented on a previous post, and apparently he knows this area very well. From my description, he knew what building I was in and where the food court is. So I can safely assume that I’ll learn this area at some point in the future.

Since we’re on the subject of directions (yes, we are) let’s talk about GPS for a moment. Last Christmas my wonderful family got me a GPS for the car. I know it’s not easy to get lost between our rural home and Carrollton. Even Google Maps mocks us: “Drive down the road a piece, turn left, drive some more.” but it was indispensable to us, since the speedometer in the car was no longer functional.

Today I learned just how smart this GPS is. On I20 heading into the city, the little screen indicated that there was a traffic delay of precisely 19 minutes, occurring 10 minutes ahead of me. That was certainly nice of it, but it didn’t stop there. It started thinking, apparently, and came up with an alternate route that would save me 7 minutes. It was very polite too. It didn’t force this new and unknown route on me. It gave me the option of trying it out and trusting the little device, or going my own way and getting stuck in bumper to bumper mayhem.

I exited the interstate and noticed 5-6 other vehicles exited with me. They must also have smart little directional friends. Me and my electronic navigator (I’ll call him ‘Tom’) traveled a few major roads, a few back roads, and ended up back on the interstate completely bypassing whatever mess was worth bypassing.

As I approached downtown I remembered that my preferred parking garage was about a block to the west, and wondered why Tom didn’t take me there directly. I attempted to outsmart this little dude by making my turn towards the parking lot a block early, only to find a one way street going in the wrong direction. Tom saw me make this wrong turn and quickly recalculated a new route to my target – without even once mocking my insubordination.

So, here I am at work enjoying lunch. Thanks to Tom for getting me here without much delay, and without even a hint of back-seat-driving. Also thanks to my lovely wife for preparing a nice lunch consisting of a roast beef and cheese sandwich, root beer, and snacks. This lunch has more than one function too, kind of like Tom. The lunch gives me strength to get through the day, and just the fact that this simple care package exists is a reminder of why I bother driving out here in the first place.

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