Wednesday, September 09, 2009

H Is For Highway

Gee, Dad Found His Own Way In The Outback

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


See, it’s perfectly logical. I used to get lost. Not because I am a bad driver, but simply because my aptitude for navigation does not always, ahem, match my driving skills.

So when Mrs Authorblog presented me with a GPS last year, the gods in every religious pantheon breathed a sigh of relief and said: "Right, we don’t need to worry about him getting lost – ever again. "

The GPS was great fun. I hooked it up even if we were driving to the shops, just for the novelty of hearing a disembodied voice actually telling me when to turn, which direction to turn, and how long it would be before my next cross-street. I reckoned I had found Nirvana.

When we flew interstate in January this year, it was the first thing I packed. As soon as we stepped off the plane in Perth, capital of Western Australia, I proudly marched up to the rental car desk, claimed my big Camry, opened the driver’s door in the sweltering heat and even before I turned the aircon on, I connected the GPS and put in the co-ordinates for the Sheraton.

Piece of cake. Never been to Perth before, but I drove with as much confidence as locals who had spent all their lives there.

But a couple of weeks later, I blotted my copybook. Just when the family figured I would never get lost again, I did. Yes, the GPS was operating and I turned left when it told me to turn right. You could just about hear the GPS clicking its imaginary tongue and intoning gravely: "This bloke’s a moron. "

But I recently drove a 1200-kilometre round trip up the bush, into neighbouring New South Wales, to the beautiful little Riverina town of Temora. I was on my own, without the family for the first time in clan history, because it was just a quick in-and-out trip for research purposes. But I reckon Mrs Authorblog and the Authorbloglets were placing wagers on how soon it would take me to get lost.

I left on schedule, arrived at my destination on schedule, drove around the town without any dramas and then drove back to Melbourne on schedule. No big deal?

Mate, I did it all without the GPS. Yes, I had it with me in the car, but I never once turned it on.

Just one word of warning. Next time you see me, don’t tell me "Get lost" – because I probably will, literally and metaphorically.


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34 comments:

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'd love to get lost and end up where this photo was taken! Beautiful!

RuneE said...

Nice to hear that it works for you - i manage to get lost WITH a GPS...

Daryl said...

LOL ... we had a GPS with us when we went to BlogFest in VA .. but it doesnt recognize Lanes or Roads .. only STREETS and AVENUES which are as rare as Hen's teeth in rural VA.

Willow said...

We are a maps family and know how to use them. So what happens? Son #2, brilliant genius though he is, gets lost. A lot. That direction gene somehow missed him. During his recent move to a new city, he has been calling frequently and saying, "Are you near a computer? Can you check driving instructions for me?"

Mimi said...

You sound like my hubby- he loves his GPS! I hate it, don't like being told what to do!

Janie said...

Beautiful outback photo and a funny story. We have a handheld GPS. Driving our son's car in New York City was our first attempt at listening to a disembodied GPS voice. I have to admit, it was pretty cool. And it's hard to get lost when the thing patiently starts over and gives the directionally challenged driver another chance!

Stephanie said...

Your photos are beautiful! Very humorous post.
Stephanie

subtorp77 said...

David, GPS? You mean I don't need the road atlas, anymore? And those are amazing snaps!

James said...

Your photos are wonderful and I can relate to your words.

"Re-calculating" ;-)

Leslie: said...

LOL - Ah, David, you're letting us in on some of your, shall I say "male shortcomings"? I had to laugh reading this!

Shadow said...

the gps confuses me... now i have to LISTEN to another, and when they say turn left, i feel the need to do so instantaneously, and that is just gonna cause an accident sooner or later.... plus i get confused between left and right... why can't it just say go THIS way (left) and THAT way (right)??????

diXymiss said...

This post makes me smile. Not infrequently, I will get perpleXed calls from diXymister asking: "Are you online? Can you look up this address and tell me where I am?" Yes, dearie. Just call me Momstar -- his personal, cell-phone activated, nav system.

staceyjwarner said...

even when you are lost, you are exactly where you are suppose to be...

Maggie May said...

Interesting post!
My daughter's sometimes tells us to go a ridiculously long way round. if we miss a turning it tells us to reroute!

Sylvia K said...

Like James, I can relate to your stories and breathed a sigh of relief that I'm not the only one that can get lost -- with or without help. Marvelous photos, as always!

Thanks for the smiles and the beauty!

Sylvia

Craver Vii said...

I've used one before. They're great! ...Especially since I get lost easily, too. Strange how some people have such a keen sense of direction.

Suzanne said...

Oh David,

what is it with the roads and doors? how both move me so.... roads and doors, roads and doors. My favorite things. Adventures all around.

Mara said...

You can get those disembodied voices to tell you exactly how big a moron you are! Literally!! Download Mr. T. from the A-Team or record your authorblogwife/bloglets as they tell you exactly how stupid you are being...
Just an idea!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

My husband bought a Tom Tom GPS a few months back, he nicknamed the voice Tomasita. She is bossy, bossy, bossy! And not always right. She sent us on a couple of wild goose chases. But, in Tomasita's defense, she's got the route right MOST of the time. I love the photo, how gorgeous!

Madame DeFarge said...

My husband has a GPS, but with the most irritating range of voices attached to it. I find myself shouting at the voice of Tim or Jane telling me to go left. And then get lost because I can't remember what they said.

Tiffany Norris said...

My husband got one for his birthday last month, and we are hooked. We've also named her MoneyPenny. :)

lakeviewer said...

Ah, I knew you had to have some fault or two. Glad to know there are toys out there to correct your sense of direction.

Kelly H-Y said...

Great story! And, gorgeous photos!

Tranquility said...

Haha...
Good job with that last trip!

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

I am directional dyslexic and need to turn the map I'm using to match the direction I'm heading down the road to get anywhere.

The ironic thing is, I believe Flavio Gioia is an ancestor and he invented the compass! Must have run in the family way back then.

My license plate frame reads: "Not all those who wander are lost." Some of my best excursions happened because I "lost" my way.

Martha in PA said...

Beautiful pictures!

My ABC & Watery Wednesday

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Outstanding photos! Just beautiful!

Oh, and when I've driven with a GPS, I fight looking at it, instead of the road. Can be dangerous! :-)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

All roads lead somewhere.... I get calls all the time asking how to find the campground and I must admit I am pretty good with directions and with following them. Some of the folks I talk to, though, have me wondering how they manage to find their way to.... anywhere.

Tumblewords: said...

A novel narrative! I've never used a gps and have been lost on more than one occasion but it didn't seem to matter much!

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. These pictures are so beautiful! They literally took my breath away. Stunning. Happy trails to you and your GPS : )

Kate said...

A GPS for my husband might be a great gift since he is direction-challenged but still insists upon doing the driving.

The sky in your photos is breathtaking!

Jay said...

Haha! That was a fun post! We have a GPS, too, and it is invaluable. We do feel that she sighs heavily at times as she reconfigures the route. LOL!

That photo at the beginning is a real stunner. Very beautiful!

Thumbelina said...

I bought hubby one and now I turn it off because most times all I can here is the gentle female voice turn to panic as she demands, "Make a U-turn! Make a U-turn! Make a U-turn!" lol

Well done you on not getting lost.

Kathleen said...

Tell me, David, how it is that an international journalist has managed to stay an international journalist without the ability to navigate?!?

Very fun post! And yes, perfectly logical.

Word verification: car-vapt