GPS Saves Marriages

5 Aug

Driving around and visiting colleges, my husband and I have discovered that having a global positioning navigational system (GPS) in the car is good for marital harmony.  No, it can’t arrange a date night for you or help with household chores but it can eliminate arguments in the car about how to get from point A to point B.

Back in the good ole days before GPS became popular, you planned your route carefully with the aid of maps and written directions.  But even with the best preparation you can still get lost.  Once lost, all bets are off.  Couples may find themselves squabbling about the best way to proceed.  Should we turn back?  Should we go ahead and see where this leads us?  Should we ask for directions?  No, I know where I’m going.  Do you, do you really?  I’m speaking hypothetically, of course, since this has never happened to us.

Anyway, the GPS takes care of all that.  If you miss a turn, a voice resembling a well-trained English butler politely tells you “Recalculating.”  He all but adds, “Sir” or “Madam.”  No attitude, no recriminations, no baleful looks.  If you tire of your butler, you can switch to an American man or woman with a made-for-primetime TV accent.  Just to mix it up, you can ask for directions in French, German, Spanish, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese dialect) and a laundry list of other tongues.

Although the GPS is not without some flaws (sometimes it takes a long time to find a nearby satellite), it has helped us get around unfamiliar places when looking at colleges.  We just plug in the address and the GPS will plot a route for us, tell us the estimated time of arrival, and even the speed limit (beware, this last function is sometimes inaccurate so best check the posted speed limit).  It also takes the guesswork out of finding local restaurants and gas stations.  This is especially helpful if you’re running low on food or fuel and tempers are starting to rise.  Again, I’m speaking hypothetically.

So if there’s a lot of driving to new places in your future, I highly suggest you get a GPS for the car.  It will be a worthwhile investment in your marriage.


4 Responses to “GPS Saves Marriages”

  1. David Kaplan August 9, 2010 at 8:42 AM #

    With convenience comes dependence comes another vestigal skill.

    How did tribes move from summer camps to winter camps? How do nomadic people overcome the desert?
    How did aboriginal seafarers travel several hundred miles and return to their original starting point?

    Even with the GPS, I sometimes am lost (in thought) and overshoot an exit or an intersection.


  2. David Kaplan August 9, 2010 at 8:46 AM #

    I dread the day when standing on the shoulder of a road somewhere. The car battery is dead. The GPS is not functioning. There is no “nearby satellite”, which may be 12,500 miles away, traveling at 10,000 miles per hour. The cell phone is out of range.

    Hmm. Which is the North Star?

  3. Seth August 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM #

    Dear Wanchee,

    Nice piece- as usual! Thank you!

    We’ve never had the pleasure, really, so we’re quite curious how it is to actually drive with GPS. We’re very late adopters.

    Cary and I often imagine an exasperated GPS voice recalculating once too often and then saying, “why do I bother? You never listen.”

    Conversely, when too much edge creeps into Cary’s navigating, I’ll say, “GPS” and she’ll immediately switch to the sanguine, rounded voice of a digital assistant. Very refreshing.

    BTW, I met a flight instructor yesterday who told me cockpit instruments are now like GPS, giving pilots pinpoint digital information. It can be a problem, he said- the instruments give too much data and pilots sometimes rely on them too much; a bit like believing the speed limits your GPS tells you about… or following your GPS onto the railroad crossing and parking there. Don’t do that.

  4. Milton August 13, 2010 at 12:09 AM #

    Hey Wanchee:

    I really liked this one. Now, you know why the Israelites wandered around in the wilderness for forty years. They were led by men!

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