Sunday, January 4, 2009

The decline of the Human GPS...

I'm one of those people who really likes maps. I love to look at maps and figure out where things are and look up alternate routes. I would actually prefer to be told something is on the North side of the road that to be told "it's on the right..."

One of my good friends has called me her Human Mapquest/GPS for a few years now. She has been known to call me from MoPac and say - where am I? where do I go? And with a bit of sarcasm and a lot of love, I've always been happy to give her turn by turn directions.

This Christmas, her husband purchased her a GPS unit. And today, we made plans for her to pick me up at work on Tuesday, and I wanted to write her out directions. GASP - she said - NO I will use my GPS.

So I decided to play around with it, and I hated it! It doesn't show you a map from point A to point B - it just talks you through the route turn by turn. There is just something about knowing the layout of my route in my mind's eye, and being able to decide in a split second to take an alternate street for any reason. I just don't understand how anyone could be comfortable not knowing where they are, and trusting a computerized voice to tell you what to do. I am old school and I own it with pride!

Did you know that I also loathe laptops, email on phones and try to "unplug" from the internet at least one day a week? That if I had to live life without the smell of old books I would be very sad? Perhaps I am just spoiled that I live in a City I know like the back of my hand and I don't travel often enough to need really mobile technology. I can certainly see how a road trip to Dallas would be awesome with a GPS. But the truth is, I also know I could navigate in any city with a "real" map - it's part of the adventure!

My fear is that people are so dependent on technology that if cell phone towers and internet cables went out, they would freeze into a state of helpless oblivion and not be able to go anywhere or do anything. Heaven forbid we live without text messaging for a day! Eat without a microwave - never! The point is that technology is great, but it isn't necessary to live a fulfilling life.

xo, Anne Marie


katie c said...

i feel EXACTLY the same way!! one of my favorite parts about travelling (or even navigating unfamiliar areas of austin) is checking out maps of the area.