The scene: I am bent over the table with my glasses off – the better to see with – and my nose in a book of maps trying to trace a route. Why is it that no matter what I am looking for on a map, it is always in the spine or spilling off the edge. Never, ever can I remember my destination being smack in the middle of the page, clearly laid out and with lots of unobstructed detail. Never.
The Son walks up behind me and says: “You know, they make an app for that.”
I sigh. A book of maps is obviously completely old fashioned and useless to this younger generation. Why would you use paper – which won’t spontaneously combust – when you have a screen? “Let the phone do it” appears to be their motto. They have supreme confidence that there will be a constant, strong signal everywhere, which in the wilds of Western Massachusetts is simply silly. I regularly drive through places that are as digitally remote as the Amazon and I know that if I were to adopt this youthful attitude, my signal would disappear just at the point that I am totally lost.
I am not so hopeless that I have never used GPS in the car. I am so hopeless, however, that the only ones I’ve used are the stick-on-the-window portable ones. My car is simply too old to have anything that “modern” built in. The “coolest” features are a CD player and cup holders.
Besides, there have been times when I have gone out the door without maps, relying solely on technology and the GPS, and have had great difficulty. On two occasions, I vaguely knew where I needed to be and decided to use the GPS as a backup. Both times “Hilda” (the GPS voice sounds as if it must have once been a Nazi prison guard – there is no other explanation for the accent and intonation), had me going in the opposite direction. We had quite the fight about the correct roads. Eventually I found my way without her help.
So, with this in mind, I tell The Son that I like to have a general idea of the layout of the land before I set out.
His reply? “Yeah, they make an app for that, too…”