Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's a Strange, New GPS World

     I promise not to spend too much time on this blog complaining about the kids. But this is something that has to be said. Our kids don’t know where the hell they’re going.

     They don’t know how to read a map. They have no sense of direction. They are completely lost if they don’t have a GPS glued to their foreheads – or at least to the dashboard of their car.

     Even then, it’s questionable.

     I remember teaching my daughter how to drive. We lived about 2 miles outside of the town of Mt. Kisco, NY. She’d lived there all her life and traveled into town thousands of times. When she got her learner’s permit, we first drove around our neighborhood, then when I thought she was ready I told her to take us to Mt. Kisco.

     She turned onto the access road, stopped at the stop sign, then looked at me blankly. “Um . . . which way do I turn?”
           
     “To Mt. Kisco,” I repeated. “Don’t worry. You’re ready. Let’s go.”
           
     “Uh, how do I get to Mt. Kisco?”

     “You know, just into town,” I said. “It’s two turns.”

     She looked up the road to the right, then down the other way. And I realized she had no idea which way to go.

     Now she’s in graduate school. She got a GPS as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. She still doesn’t know where she’s going. She just follows her GPS. She came home for Thanksgiving and went two exits past our turnoff from the parkway, then around through town and past a dozen lights, because that’s the way the GPS told her to go.

     B’s son is no better. We were going to meet him at the mall. He wanted to stop off at his favorite hamburger joint on the way. “Why don’t I leave my car there,” he suggested. “You can pick me up and I can ride to the mall with you, then you can drop me at my car on the way home.”

     “Okay. . . ” I responded. “But the hamburger place is several miles up Route 22. With the lights, it'll be an extra 10 minutes up there, an extra 10 minutes back. Then another 10 minutes up and another 10 back, to pick up your car.”

     “Really? That much?” he said. “I thought it was on the way.”

     “Kind of on the way,” I said. “But going up and back twice will take -- yeah, probably an extra 40 minutes.”

     “Is it north or south?” he wondered.

     “North,” I replied.

     “Really? I thought . . .” Then he gave a little laugh. “Actually, I never have any idea where I am. So, I guess I’ll stop and eat, then just meet you at the mall.”

     “Okay,” I replied agreeably. “But are you sure you know how to go – to the hamburger place, I mean, and then the mall?”

     He shot me a look, like I was an annoying speed bump in his life. “Of course I know how to go,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I have my GPS.”

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