QOTD: Taken For a Ride?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The wonders of modern technology allow us to enjoy an endless list of conveniences and pleasures. It’s amazing we’re so miserable.

Our cars can brake on their own to avoid the nearsighted neighbor boy; lane-hold systems can keep us on the straight and narrow, while in-dash navigation systems and even our phones can offer verbal directions to the destination of our choice. No longer does man have to suffer with paper maps and dead reckoning. The stars adorning the heavens are there just for decoration these days.

And yet technology still has the annoying tendency to fail at its job.

It was New Year’s Eve. A friend and I were on the way to meet up with a group of people at a cherished dive bar, riding in the back of a Altima piloted by an Uber driver who, and this isn’t a comment on anything, only recently entered the country. With local landmarks still unfamiliar to this driver, surely his phone’s GPS would prove an asset, right?

Wrong. Ever since GPS misdirections made their way into the plot of The Office, wild forays into the unknown at the hands of a drunk electronic navigator have been part of the public consciousness. It was no different that night, as the driver’s GPS led us everywhere but our intended destination. Time after time, the infuriating charted and spoken course would offer up a path heading exactly away from the bar.

With whole dollars riding on this gig-economy excursion, my threadbare wallet ached as each block passed. Eventually we threw in the towel, asking the driver to stop when we passed within walking distance of the destination, thus forcing us into a crowd of pissed-drunk French Canadians who soon decided the time was right for a snowball fight.

It’s not the first time I’ve been led astray by someone else’s GPS, and it likely won’t be the last. In this scenario, the addle-brained directions only delayed the pouring of intoxicating beverages down your author’s bone-dry gullet. In other circumstances, faulty electronic directions can have a far greater impact.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had with GPS?

[Image: Trekandshoot/Shutterstock]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 09, 2020

    Speak for your self Jim ; My son is the most independent child of a Boomer you'll ever meet . Staunchly Conservative too =8-) . -Nate

  • Tsoden Tsoden on Jan 10, 2020

    A couple instances where Tom-Tom, was completely brainless. In New Brunswick, the GPS was directing us to what was supposed to be a 4 lane highway. We kept following the prompts, but eventually notice our surroundings were not matching up to what Tom-Tom was telling us. The highway has "disappeared, and we were on a two lane paved road, that turned to gravel, that turned to a one lane gravel road. I did not have road for three point turn, so I drove backwards about one kilometer and eventrually got back on track... with the GPS trying to insist we make a legal U-turn for almost 30 KM. Other times... the same GPS insisted my left turn was off a bridge (not .5 KM on the other side of it), and one time it tried to direct us into the Atlantic ocean. Needless to say... I was not sad to get rid of this device...Paper maps don't try to direct you into the ocean.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.