The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old Tech vs High Tech in the 21st Century

I was four states away from home, in a town I'd never seen before, with an appointment to keep, and I was lost. I'd used an online map service (will not mention name here as it wouldn't be fair to them), which had worked fine for getting me to the state, the town, and my hotel room the night before. But in the early light of dawn, there was one street turn I just couldn't find. I went up and down that stretch of road in increasing panic (I hate being late) but no matter how hard I tried, that one turn, the third one listed on the instructions, just wouldn't appear. As the appointment time loomed, I called the office I should have already arrived at in a panic.

The people I was to see were wonderful. They were supportive and understanding (this had happened before). They tried to talk me through on the cell phone, but to no avail. I had a stupid cell phone rather than a smart one so I couldn't call up directions there. I had no GPS in the car to calmly guide (or misguide) me. Finally, the staff gently suggested I stop at a gas station and ask for directions ... why is it we males never do this voluntarily? I did ... and the staff was no help. They drew a blank. I looked around that gas station in rising panic. I NEEDED to keep this appointment for which I was now late.

Then my eyes hit on it and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it sooner. I flashed back to another century and snatched the object of my desire off the shelves, my old school life line and long lost friend. I eagerly paid for the wonderful, old-fashioned, nearly magical object, and within two minutes (I know how to read said object from long decades of use) was happily on my way again, sure of my directions. I had found a detailed atlas of the city and all its surrounding towns, paid $24.99 for it, and arrived safely at my appointment within ten minutes. The map of the area where I was located showed me clearly the elusive turn and the much sought next road. And before you feel all smug, thinking your bit of high tech would have worked better and you would never have gotten lost, know this ... the needed road had no road sign and was a looping feeder between two roads ... so it might not have been recorded in your GPS device any better than it was on my online map service. So, moral of the story, sometimes even in this high tech age, it pays to go old school. If you find yourself lost in unfamiliar territory, stop at the local gas station, and ask for an old fashioned map. It'll get you there. By the way, for those unfamiliar with the technology, nothing happens if you tap the map page of an atlas with your fingertip.

Happy trails and safe travels to you.

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