As much as I believe clarity in communication is vital between humans, so it goes with GPS systems. I was driving a colleague to a dinner party at another colleague's home last night in my own SUV. As a starter, my friend had never been to Arizona so she was totally enamored with the cacti and the mountains. Great, I thought. She will have a chance to see some flora and fauna on our way to the dinner party. Not to mention the fact that we would all be at the home in time for a stunning Arizona sunset.
The first thing to note is that my GPS lady always begins the trip with "Follow the road". I always feel a bit like this is a rhetorical direction, because I am not planning on doing anything other than following the road. But....so be it.
As we get near the gated community to which we were headed, GPS lady told me to make a right. "Alrighty, will do" I told her, as I always want to be kind and courteous. As I began to turn right, I saw we were driving onto a dirt road. "Just curious....do gated communities in Arizona typically begin with a dirt road?" my friend asked. "Nope", I answered, but maybe they are just having work done, I thought. I thought I heard a little giggle of laughter from GPS lady but maybe not.
As we drove (slowly) down the dirt road, my dear friend began clapping her hands. "This is so much fun! I've always wanted to go off-road in the desert and mountains." "That's great", I smirked, "because I wanted to provide the most authentic Arizona experience possible. All of a sudden, we realized the dirt road was taking a very sharp decline down a hill as the road narrowed. Luckily, I was driving slowly or we both would have ended up with whiplash. We looked up to see two kids dirtbiking in front of us.
"you sure are silent, now, aren't you, GPS chica?' I remarked. Not a word!
As I turned around to go back out the way we came in (a harrowing experience in itself), I saw the GPS route re-calculate itself, looking like I should turn in the NEXT road instead of the original dirt one. "Oh! So maybe we just turned too early", I optimistically began.....
"Wheeeeee!" squealed my friend, enjoying the roller coaster ride.
Alas, as I made the next turn at the command "Turn right" from GPS Gal, I was despondent at seeing we were on yet another dirt road. "What in the world??" I asked outloud. "Whee!" said my friend. Total silence from GPS woman.
At this point, I admit other names for my GPS were coming to mind.
I looked at my friend and said, "Hope you are enjoying the scenery." "Why?" she asked, cautiously. "Did you bring me into the desert to strangle me, like in some bad horror movie?" "Yes", I deadpanned. "I only get to do that once a year and a consultant get-together seemed the perfect opportunity........" "No" I began again, "I just hope you enjoy the view of the sunset because I don't think we are making it to Ann's in time to see it from their veranda."
And still.....no sound from GPS Girl.
As we looked in front of us (the direction the GPS was telling us to go), directly in front of us......was a mountain. We both began giggling about "The bear went over the mountain...." but I turned around nonetheless.
When we finally were able to make our way to the guard hut at the gated community (which remarkably ended up being on a beautifully, well-paved road), the guard laughed when I told him our adventure. "Oh, GPS doesn't work to get here." Well, of course it doesn't!! We saw that the GPS had actually been correct. The house was located directly on the other side of that mountain! The only problem is we hadn't brought our helicopter to navigate the terrain. Next time, I thought.
As we drove down the road towards the gorgeous house in the dusk just after sunset, I heard GPS ________ say "Follow the road" in tandem with my friend saying "Wheeeeeeee!"
Just for today, we might want to use caution in listening to folks giving us direction and make sure they have our best interest in mind.