Opinion

Purposeful driving and the vanishing joy ride

I missed the exit on the highway I needed to take the other day.

And this was all after sitting in traffic and inching my way towards it for the previous 15 minutes.

When automobiles were first used, there were no such things as traffic jams.

Most of the fun about cars has always been the free-wheeling aspect of driving them. You have a feel for the road in front of you and how your car handles things like the curves.

We used to take joy rides on either Saturdays or Sundays.

Now our driving experience is entirely calculated.

We should never miss our exit when we’re using Google Maps.

But we’re humans and sometimes we think Google Lady is telling us something and we end up doing what it is we think she meant, rather than what it is she actually told us to do.

When we ignore or refuse to listen to certain components of directions we tend to get off course like I did.

I was forced to “re-calculate” along with Google lady, how it is I would get to my destination.

It left me with an available alternative—a way to right the mistake for not having done what it is she told me to do (when I chose to ignore her or felt she was making a mistake).

Computers and GPS devices don’t make mistakes; only humans do.

After all, aren’t we responsible for the programming of these tools of navigation? Why would we opt to be so rebellious or nonchalant as to simply feel, “No way she meant THAT!?”

Then, of course, we find out she was right and we were wrong.

I fully expect future editions of navigation to chastise motorists with childhood taunts each and every time we feel they’ve made an error.

“You silly goose! How could you doubt that I would give you a bum steer? Get it? Do you get it, Bob? Bum steer!?”

Yeah, I get it.

I think the art of being a motorist has been reduced to that of purposeful driving. For those of us who still choose to indulge in a “Sunday” drive, we typically choose a route that is familiar to us and set off on our planned course that we’ve navigated enough times successfully and on our own, in the past.

I know that when I’m traveling on business, Google lady is my trusty companion. I do think back in the past when we had to stop and ask for directions. Most guys would drive 20 miles in the wrong direction as the clock ticked ever further into the night and early morning, however, before stopping and asking for them.

Automobiles, no matter how stylish, fancy and fun to drive, are relics of the 20th century that find themselves used in conjunction with modern GPS devices—both portable and actually built in to the cars themselves.

It’s so accepted that GPS devices are an extension of automobiles that we’d never operate our vehicles if we didn’t have our phones available to show the way.

Traffic jams are a byproduct of excess automobile development and use on roads not originally intended for today’s volume of cars. And it is undeniable that tools like Google Maps make congested thruways less insufferable for motorists by finding quicker routes to their respective destinations.

I used to be known alternatively as “Wrong way Skelley” and “Long way Skelley” when I drove places when I was younger. Most of the time it was due to my reluctance to ask for directions before I was either interminably lost or had been driving mindlessly long past my destination due time.

Call me crazy, but I miss those times. Eliminating the possibility for error with technical enhancements, in my humble opinion, can be highly over rated, not to mention, terribly uncreative.

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