The featured photo is just over the border into Germany, where the GPS tried to lead us through a place we couldn’t go…
Bill and I are now home from our four night jaunt to extreme eastern France. We had a really nice break. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, if not a bit chilly and windy. Although we have been to Alsace a bunch of times over the past several years, this was our first time in the Soufflenheim area, which is kind of different from the areas where we have been in the past. I chose a great little hotel/Michelin starred restaurant, and the French, as promised, were much less obnoxious about COVID rules than the Germans have been… although while we were gone, some of the rules in Germany were either scrapped or relaxed.
I’m looking forward to writing up our trip on the travel blog. That poor thing has been limping along for months, as we’ve stayed close to home since we went to Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria a few months ago. I think, though, since the weather is improving, the days are getting longer, and the rules are relaxing, I will be able to write better travel posts in the coming weeks. That is, of course, if Putin doesn’t decide to nuke the world.
So what’s up with the title of today’s post? I’ve decided that I hate the GPS. On the rare occasions when I drive, I don’t tend to use it. I don’t like hearing the pack a day smoking voice the GPS always seems to use. I don’t like how it gives a bunch of directions, muting my music or interrupting conversations. Bill, on the other hand, loves using the GPS. Ever since he used a Tom Tom for the first time, back in 2007, he has relied on the GPS to tell him where to go. Sometimes he’ll use that in place of his own common sense. Personally, I often want to tell the GPS where to go.
Yesterday, as we were enjoying the French countryside, the GPS came on as Alison Krauss was introducing a song on her live album. Suddenly, I blurted out, “Shut your whore mouth, GPS!”
Bill cracked up. He knows I hate the GPS. It’s frustrating to try to have a conversation with him while that thing is going. He eventually set it to give fewer directions, not that it helped especially much.
This morning, as we were coming back to Germany, we were in a deep conversation when, just over the border, we ran into an “Umleitung” (detour). As Bill turned right, because he had to turn right, the GPS said in her mournful voice, “Make a U-turn if possible.” But it wasn’t possible.
Inexplicably, Bill continued to follow the GPS’s directions, instead of the street signs, and wound up right back where he came from. I got more agitated as the GPS kept telling him what to do, and giving him bad advice, since the GPS isn’t hooked up to the Internet and can’t offer up-to-the-minute directions. Bill needs to buy a chip for the car for the GPS to be able to give real time directions.
After a few more complaints, I managed to get Bill to turn off the GPS. He was surprisingly reluctant, though. “How will we find our way back?” he asked.
I had to laugh at that, since Bill has been driving for longer than I have.
“What the hell did you do before GPS systems were available?” I asked.
“I got out the map.” he said.
“You got out the map for every trip? Even the ones on interstates or Autobahns, where there are plenty of road signs? You’ve never just used your intuition?” I asked.
Bill had to admit that he did used to do things that way. But the GPS makes it so much easier… just follow along to what the smokey voiced woman says, and you’ll get where you need to go! Except for when she doesn’t have all of the information and leads you astray! Sometimes the human mind is better for problem solving than an automated machine is, don’t you think? Most humans can see with their eyes what’s going on. Machines can’t. On the other hand, machines don’t have cultural mores, subjective standards, or other people’s opinions to influence them.
I have an unusually good sense of direction. I always have been pretty good at finding my way around. It may come from having an Air Force navigator as a father. Consequently, I would take it as a challenge to get around using the GPS as seldom as possible. I also don’t like to be told what to do, even though I do appreciate the GPS when we’re somewhere completely foreign to us. I guess that’s one of the ways in which Bill and I differ.
At some point, I’m going to need to get a new car. It’ll probably have a built in GPS system. But if I know myself, I won’t use it when I drive. I don’t like interruptions when I listen to music or when I’m having a conversation. And sometimes, it’s cool to get lost for awhile. I’ve found some really interesting things that way. Getting lost is a great way to learn your way around a place, as long as you have the time to spare. We do have the time today, as the dogs can’t be picked up until after 6:00pm.
I’m reminded of how, back when I was doing my first social work internship, I had to use my own sense of direction to find my way to clients’ houses. It’s a wonder I was able, if I were to listen to my sweet husband. But sometimes, he’s a little too quick to do what other people tell him to do. Including the GPS system… she really does need to shut her whore mouth! Especially when Alison Krauss is speaking (or singing).