It doesn’t matter how accurate and simple the directions. It doesn’t matter how crisp and colorful the map is on the screen. It doesn’t even matter how attractive the announcer’s accent is. I hate GPS systems. More accurately, I loathe and despise these little computers now infecting our car consoles.
Is this an unfair attack on what is actually a helpful and non-threatening technology?
Rather, it is a worthy defense of basic human rights, for the GPS has robbed the human race of all natural directional instincts. If you can follow me without your TOM-TOM, keep reading.
All seems right when you first choose to obey the Australian accent reverberating through your car speakers. That smooth voice speaks with such authority and confidence that turning left and switching lanes appears nothing more than the obvious choice. But obvious quickly conflicts with reality if (and when) roads end and lanes merge.
The truth is that Mr. Down-under sometimes doesn’t realize that he is directing you into a lake or onto an imaginary highway, and yet his charm can carry you mindlessly into an abrupt conundrum.
“The voice” can be compared to any other addiction. Once dependent, even if innocentlly, it is quite difficult to find freedom again. The purposes of maps, street signs and directions all fall to the wayside with the GPS. And so when it is gone, or wrong (really, it does happen), you might feel incomplete, anxious and unsure without that suave bark of orders filling your ears. You become a lost puppy in a sea of asphalt, construction and angry drivers.
With your God-given instincts stripped away, the GPS not only demands your full obedience, it punishes anything less than perfection. Panic quickly leaks out of the air conditioning vents when you miss an exit and the voice coldly repeats, “Turn around,” or “You are off-track,” or any other number of horrible reminders of your incompetence.
In light of the consequences, I would rather not live at the mercy of my GPS. I would rather choose the marked road for myself, browse the paper atlas until I joyously and triumphantly find my location and head in the right direction.
Don’t fall victim to the lie that the GPS is a kind assistance to your navigation ventures. Don’t let the GPS tell you what to think. Choose GPS independence and you might still get lost, but at least it won’t be in the middle of a large body of water.