March 25, 2018 platemark

Shortcuts are Becoming Extinct

We were heading home from a dinner party, in the back seat of our friend’s car, who attended and offered to drive. GPS in hand, a wrong turn didn’t really matter. The Waze app corrected the mistake and life went on.

Someone said, I think it was Rich, “What did we do before GPS?” We laughed about the spiral bound Rand McNally maps we all stowed under our seats. Did we take them out while we were driving? Hopefully not, I remember pulling over, studying the map, then getting back on track.

And I remember a time when people bragged about shortcuts? “I know a shortcut, and it’ll get us there faster. Take this turn and you’ll avoid all the traffic that’s usually in town.” The tension, in a car full of people, might have been palpable. Irresistible, maybe.

What if we’re late? What if the driver is humiliated as we approach a cul-de-sac? Wrong turn! Shame!

What if we get lost? In the old days, maybe we pull up a driveway, could knock on a stranger’s door, ask for directions, use their phone? Could you imagine?

The driver’s seat upheld a particular status in our family — probably in most families I expect. The driver is in charge. The pilot navigates the dark, scary world where strangers live in big, dark houses and high beams are a weapon.

Worse yet, driving with colleagues, friends, in-law’s or a boss!

The reward to finding a shortcut was often too much to resist, and yes, it paid off splendidly if executed properly.

Now. GPS has taken all that away from us. Everyone “knows” where they’re going.

Be careful, your shortcuts might be next.

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