I went on a quick to Boston for work at the beginning of this week. While I was there I had to rent a car to get myself around. Any time I have to drive in an area I don’t know I am grateful for the existence of GPS. I don’t have the best sense of direction, and even when I can figure out where I’m going much like Joey in Friends I have to go into my map to do it.
Place like Boston where none of the roads run in any sort of grid are especially vexing to me. Thus the GPS on my phone was my best friend on the trip.
I have an Android phone, so it includes Google Navigate which I really love. Up until yesterday I would have made some obnoxious comment to iPhone users about the superior GPS on Android, but I guess you guys are finally getting turn-by-turn directions on the iPhone 5 so I’m a day late. It was also super helpful that while I was driving and needing to get gas before getting to the airport that I could just speak into my phone tell it gas stations and it directed me to one nearby.
We also have a Garmin Nuvi, which we rarely use anymore. It was great for the years before we had GPS on our phones, but now it’s just an unnecessary second gadget to carry around, not to mention the fact that at this point the maps on it are so outdated that it can get you into serious trouble.
I had a bit of an adventure with my rental car in that I somehow wound up with a Canadian car that was some weird hybrid between a manual and an automatic. There was no clutch, but you still had to switch gears. This would have been no problem had I actually been aware that this was the case, but I did not. Leaving the rental car facility you wind up at a light that immediately puts you onto the entrance ramp to I-90, which is the route I was taking. That meant I pretty much immediately wound up driving on a highway and had zero chance prior to that to realize that something was not quite right with how I thought the car should operate. Once I started trying to drive 55+ miles per hour it was very obvious. Due to the fact that I drive a car with a manual transmission at home I could tell that the car needed be in a higher gear, but had no idea how to get it there. It was entirely puzzling to me given that I thought I was driving an automatic. Driving on a highway in the dark with the car making horrible noises and people flying past you and honking is really not the best way to figure out what the heck is going on. When I was finally able to get off the highway and get stopped at a stoplight I was able to assess the situation and figure things out. I have no idea how anyone who has never driven a manual would have figured it out, so really not the best rental car experience I’ve ever had. Once I knew what was going on I was fine though.
I don’t know what I would have done without the GPS at that point though. I can’t imagine having to deal with the wonky car, while trying to read directions and pay attention to street signs to figure out where I was going all at the same time. Not to mention this was all happening in the pitch black. Having the GPS meant I didn’t have to. I know it doesn’t always take me on the best route to my destination, but I usually use it in places where I don’t know where I’m going obviously so I guess it doesn’t really matter then because I don’t know any better. The important thing is that it gets me where I’m going. I’m super happy to be living in a time where GPS exists to help those of us who are directionally challenged.