Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh, the Places I'll Go

There was an article recently in GQ about how we've all lost our ability to get lost, thanks to GPS and other tools that show us where we want to go. Well, ironically enough, in the month or so that I've had an iPhone, I think I've gotten more lost than I ever have, because rather than just rely on directions I'd printed out, now I check and re-check the Google Maps app, re-calculating my route when I think I've made a wrong turn, over and over — which, of course, only makes it worse. On multiple occasions, including a couple when I was in Chicago recently, my reliance on the iPhone (and my stupidity) has actually taken me out of my way and sent me in some random direction because I wasn't following the map correctly. The old me had a very good sense of direction. The new, post-iPhone me is so tied to his device that he doesn't think for himself anymore.

But I digress.

This morning I had to drive out to Franklin, and rather than go the usual route that I'm used to going — Mass Pike to 495 — I decided once again to trust in the Google Maps app and go a totally different route, down 95 and on some side roads. The good news is that despite my skepticism that this would actually be an easy-to-follow route, not only did I get to Franklin quicker and more easily than had I taken the Pike, and not only did I only make one wrong turn on the way, but man, what a great drive it was! Until this morning, I had never been to Westwood, Millis, Medfield, or any of the other towns I traveled through, and on such a beautiful day, they were really nice. Sure, I didn't really get out and explore or anything (just cruised on down routes 109 and 115), but the drive made me want to get out and explore — and yes, get lost in — these towns. I really and truly enjoyed seeing somewhere new, and didn't even mind that I was stuck behind slow-moving cars both going there and coming home. This was a really nice area, and I'm already kind of looking forward to the next time I head on out there.

Point is, Google Maps isn't all bad. And if I stick to the directions and pay attention, who knows what other places it will take me to in the future.

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