Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yielding To The Inevitable

Okay, a confession: I have a notoriously bad sense of direction.

Case in point: a few years ago, Adam and I were going to visit my friend Deadspot. Deadspot gave excellent, detailed instructions to his house, which, I might add is next town over from a town I actually lived in for a summer. Yet, I missed the clearly-marked exit from the interstate (an interstate I have driven to and from my college town easily 30-35 times in my life) to the road to his house not once, but twice.

I finally got off of the right exit when my son spotted it.

The problem was that I should have had my son, The Evil Dictator navigating. Instead, I was allowing him to play a video game on his Gameboy, or read, or some other nonesense, allowing him to shirk his duties as my navigator.

Even at a young age, his sense of direction was uncanny. When he was about 2 and a half or 3 years old, we were out driving one day, doing errands and I decided to take another route to our destination, which he knew. Adam asked "Dad, why didn't you turn there?"

I came to realize that he knew various routes to places, and could tell me whether we were headed toward or away from places. At times, he knew better, more direct routes to places.

Later, it became somewhat of a problem. After his mother and I split and settled our custody issues, he went through a period in which he did not want to return to his mother's house after time at my home. I tried a subterfuge-- okay, a lie-- I told him that we were not going to his mother's home, but to one of his favorite destinations, my best friend Jim's house. As we weaved through what I thought was a sneaky and stealthy route, he became suspicious and busted me: "Hey, we're not going to Uncle Jim's house-- we're going to my mom's house!"

The final humiliating blow and proof of his navigation superiority was a couple of years ago when we were driving to my parents' home in Eastern Tennessee. I missed an exit (of course) and we had to navigate the final fifty miles or so through winding country roads in the Smoky Mountains to get there. I realized that I was becoming hopelessly confused and lost. He asked for the map, and telling me where to turn, quickly and easily navigated our way to my parents' house.

Next week, we are going to see them again. They've since moved to a new home. It's actually easier to get to, but I still had major anxiety about getting there.

I'd decided a year or so ago that due to my directional issues, I would buy a GPS system eventually, but would wait until I could get one for under $200. With our trip approaching, and my plans to possibly have a side trip or two to go to the Louisville Slugger factory (Louisville is on our route) and, if possible, meet up with Dr. Monkerstein, I may have to actually get off of the interstates. I did some research on different systems at different costs, and today I dropped by Radio Shack and purchased a Magellan Maestro 3100, a low-end, but very capable GPS system that gets good reviews, for $149.99 plus tax.

It's simple to operate, which is good; otherwise, I might have to have my son help me operate it. Or just shut the thing off and have him navigate.

12 comments:

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Dude, have Evil Dictator email me and I'll give him directions to my place.

lulu said...

When my brother was 8, my parents let him plan our entire drive from Berkeley to Chicago. He picked the route, figured out how many miles we would go each day, found places for us to stay each night and estimated the mileage we would get on our '71 Vista Cruiser Station Wagon. My parents seemed to think that this was perfectly normal.

cheer34 said...

I have great sense of direction, except in Florida, for some reason I get turned around there all the time. G Man was given a GPAS device by our daughter for X mas 2 years ago, he loves it. I hate it, the darn things tells when to turn but not which turn the first right or the second right 3 feet after the first one.

Jess Wundrun said...

I'm with cheer on the love/hate. We used one when we drove to Texas last fall, and had the same problem when an off ramp may be for two or more roads.

On the other hand we were going through Oklahoma City, we programmed in "Alfred P. Murrah" and got directions to the bombing site. Otherwise we never would have made the detour to go see it.

I have a certain amount of fear knowing that the Evil Dictator and Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein will be having a confab. Will a stunning campaign announcement ensue?

SkylersDad said...

I have always been pretty good with directions, and then after my stint in the Navy controlling aircraft, I became better. It's like the soviet sub navigator in Hunt for Red October...

Give me a stopwatch and a compass and I will navigate you through the dark!

Suze said...

I once drove to Delaware three times and didn't mean to go there. I'm hopeless at directions. I can get lost going out of my driveway.

'Bubbles' said...

I've always been pretty good at following my nose and getting around. However, when a Garmin GPS was at Walmart for $128 on Black Friday I picked one up. Very helpful - especially when Thing 1 is going to be driving in a couple of weeks.

Since then I got her a Blackberry that is GPS enabled. I can find her now, too!

Beth said...

You're gonna muck it up with Monkerstein? Lucky dog. I'm going to be in Asheville in a week or so; is that close to the parents' place?

Tenacious S said...

Mr. Ten S recently got one of those for himself. He also suffers from driving dementia. Best thing that ever happened. See? Now no one has to stop at the gas station and bear the humiliation.

Elkorama said...

I have experienced the Johnny Yen navigational dyslexia firsthand in circling Kitchener at 400 Am looking for a gas station....

A low end GPS....Hmmmm
I'll be LMAO when you end up in Oklahoma next week.....

Elk Out

GETkristiLOVE said...

One time while SkyDad and I were out in CA on a work trip, we rented a van that had the talking Magellan in it. The female voice had a remarkable resemblance to our then boss, so we called the GPS "Gail" from then on. You kind of had to be there but it was funny to us - Gail kept telling us what to do, even while away.

Give Dr. Monkey a bit, wet kiss for me!

gps systems said...

GPS is the way to future. I see in next 20 years or so , may be no vehicle in our countries will be without gps. However , cost is still a problem , specially in developing nations. But I am sure , with increase in demand the cost will come down. Nice blog.