Clear instructions

I hereby out myself as an old-fashioned, tech-averse geezer. I have never in my life used a navigation device to find my way. Well, directly, at least. I have relied on my wife in the passenger seat looking up an address on Google maps on her cell phone a few times. I do use the route planner on Google maps to look up directions sometimes, but then I usually either memorize the way, take a few notes or print out a snapshot of the map.

It’s due to a variety of things. Firstly, I think I’m not that bad at orientation and spatial imagination, so I rarely ever get lost. Secondly, I don’t drive a lot in the first place. Which also means I don’t have a mount for my phone in my car. Also, I always use really cheap and crappy cell phone where every gesture takes 5 seconds to process, pages take a minute to load, and typing in an address and waiting on google maps would probably take almost as long as the drive itself. It’s way faster to just spend a couple of minutes before the trip to look up the route.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m also the type that rather drives around for an extra 15 minutes than to stop and ask for the way. Although, as I said, I rarely ever get lost.

Still, I think GPSes are awesome and an impressive display of mankind’s intelligence. And they’re definitely a great relief for people who drive a lot and have to find addresses all the time, e.g. field staff of all sorts. But personally, I am usually totally lost when I just follow someone or follow directions and don’t think for myself. I wonder if mankind will at some point totally lose the ability to orient themselves when we’re more and more getting used to rely on technology to find our way.

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4 comments on “Clear instructions
  1. Quill says:

    I seem to recall some sort of aviation comedy movie where there was a “Follow Me” truck driving around, and literally everything started following it – catering trucks, random cars, several airplanes, and so on. No idea what it was, and a quick Youtube search pulled up nothing.
    As for navigation, I am similar in that I don’t like relying on those annoying turn-by-turn navigation things. When going somewhere myself, I like to plan it out myself and write down directions, using my phone only as a last resort. Last summer I drove for Lyft, where I had to use the phone to know where I was going (I didn’t have the whole city memorized!) but I always liked to look at it on the basic maps page, not wanting to switch over to the Google Maps app to give turn-by-turn – it did that by default, I think Lyft wanted me to do it that way (probably safer as I wouldn’t be looking at my phone) but it drove me crazy. I like to see the big picture, have several moves ahead in mind, and sometimes do different than it suggested. Just wish they didn’t make the street names on it so #@%$ small, I had to zoom way in and hold it right up to my face – now that was a safety hazard!

  2. Rob de Vries says:

    Why didn’t Chuck follow him into the cafe for lunch?

  3. jan olieslagers says:

    He must have, Rob, eventually. We all know Chuck is a good and clever fellow, generally, only he’s a bit slow in the uptake, at times. Reminds me of myself, actually, and I truly believe that’s what he was conceived for.

  4. Captain Dunsel says:

    Both my wife and I were map nuts as kids (we’re in our 60’s, now). Both of us were the ones who did the navigating when our families went for drives, so we’re still big users of paper maps.

    Since we do a lot of camping in the Eastern US mountains, cell phone coverage is pretty unreliable — but paper maps don’t need cell towers, batteries, etc. So, whichever one of us is driving, the other navigates.

    One thing that has long dismayed me is how oblivious most folks are to the environment around them. I’ve see people who didn’t know which direction is which — in broad early or late daylight. Oh, they know the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, but they can’t assimilate and use that information! Likewise, when we lived in Anchorage, we knew several other military folks who couldn’t navigate…despite the distinctively different mountain ranges nearly surrounding the city (plus the fact that there’s only ONE road into the city and one out of it!

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