Saturday, April 11, 2009


April 11, 2009

One of the best gifts I've ever gotten was my GPS. My husband got it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. He was so happy with his gift of choice that it prompted my sister to ask him why he thought it was such a perfect choice. His response was, "If you had ever gotten a phone call from your wife, crying because she was lost and didn't know how to get found again, you would just know."

Yup, he's absolutely right. I wasn't blessed with a good sense of direction. As a matter of fact, I'd say that my sense of direction is downright counter-productive most of the time. And yes, my primary reaction to the frustration of being lost (among other things) is crying. I'm not proud of it, and I know it doesn't do much to solve the situation, but it is what it is.

What Doug managed to give me with that gift was not just a new gadget. What he gave me was the freedom to move outside my comfort zone with a safety net. The worrisome part of traveling before was not so much checking out my new surroundings, but the very real concern that I might not be able to get back to where I started. Mapquest was a lifesaver when that first became available, but it didn't provide for a couple of fairly important possibilities. The first shortcoming was that it couldn't account for a wrong turn on my part, or a missed freeway exit, which, I'll admit, happens more often than I'd like. Because north, south, east, and west are more vague concepts to me than useful navigational tools, once I'd gone astray, getting back onto the right freeway in the right direction could sometimes prove more challenging than what I was up for. The second thing Mapquest couldn't predict was road closures or detours. Those could throw me into an utter tailspin, and soon the tears would come, unbidden but predictable nonetheless. Let's not even talk about the fact that said wrong turns or detours always seemed to come like clockwork when I was in desperate need of finding the closest restroom because I drank a huge Diet Pepsi on the trip, adding to the tears and frustration.

These days, however, my faithful friend Elizabeth (the name my kids have bestowed upon my GPS) accompanies me on all of my journeys. While I am visiting my sister in southern California, if I need a post office, Elizabeth can find one for me. If I need to take her girls to their karate class while my sister is at work, I just punch in the address and Elizabeth leads me there. When I want to find the nearest Target, Elizabeth knows how to direct me. No matter where I go, I can get there, but more importantly, I can get back. There are still times when I miss the exit, or a road closure requires an alternate route, but in such instances, Elizabeth recalculates, and I'm off and running again. Instead of seeing these wrong turns as potential disasters, I calmly (and without tears), take in my surroundings and make my way to my destination, with the certainty that I can get where I'm going, wherever that may be, and will eventually get back home again.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! My husband wants a GPS really bad too. Not great @ sense of direction, but he's getting better.