On the road again

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On the road again

500 Words: Failure


Reading maps is just something I could not do, especially in a moving vehicle.

No matter how hard I tried to work out which way we were supposed to be going while sitting in the passenger seat, I just couldn’t do it. “Keep the map straight!

Stop turning it around!

You’ve got it upside down!

What the hell are you doing?” My non-existent navigational skills were exasperating, for everyone! “But how you can follow intricate knitting patterns and complicated recipes, and not be able to read a map?” my husband would ask, confused.

I would continue to get my left mixed up with my right, lose track of our position on the map and have no idea which direction we were actually travelling in.
On outings, when the situation got completely out of control and angry words were exchanged, we either turned around and went back home (exactly the way we’d come) or else we’d screech to a halt and swap seats – I’d drive while my husband navigated.

If I had to drive myself anywhere new, I would study the map religiously the night before, writing down the directions step by step. “At the main road, turn right.
Go through three sets of traffic lights. Take the next road on the right.” And on and on until I got to my destination – on paper. When GPS came on the scene, I was sceptical.
It sounded like a good idea but would it really work?
And what was wrong with my written directions straight from the latest street directory?

We did eventually get a new GPS, a free gift from a company my husband had done business with.On a trip to Canberra, a trip which usually involved lots of heated exchanges, we used our new GPS.

I was converted! This new device was absolutely fantastic – our trip was totally stress-free!

A lady, or man, with a lovely voice gave clear directions.
Those directions were given well before we had to turn or merge.
If we missed the turn, the lovely voice recalculated our route and gave us new directions, all without any swearing, screaming or abusing.
Terrific!I’m happy to admit I am a navigating failure. And I also know that the GPS is not foolproof and that its use is leading to individuals losing their skills in map-reading, thinking outside the square and self-reliance.

But if relying on this nifty little device means I can generally get from A to B with a minimum of trouble and abuse, I’m all for it!Read more of Diana Harley’s writing at her blog dianaharley.wordpress.com


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