I’m not good with maps. There is something specifically in the way my brain is wired that prohibits me from being able to properly read and follow a map. It only took me 35 years to fully admit it to myself and call it what it is. Years of having my husband write out instructions, printing them from Google, and getting lost regardless. Of not being able to follow an inner-compass that assures a person that if they take the wrong exit, they don’t need to curl up on the curb in a diaper while the kids call roadside assistance. Of handing the phone to my husband like hot potato whenever “directions” come up in a conversation.
I’m stubborn. I tried. And tried and tried. I’ve been late and lost, frustrated and confused.
And then I saw the light.
It’s called GPS. Or Global Positioning System.
I’ve heard about it, seen ads for them, but never REALLY knew what their purpose was. Beyond that, I considered it to be too much of a luxury item for me to even waste mind space on. Me? Have a GPS? Ha!!
Two weekends ago while I was at yet another out-of-town soccer tournament, we had an emergency change of location. The hotel secured for the team ended up being a complete dive. The parents who arrived ahead of us notified me of the situation (I’m the manager, and was still on the road), and secured another hotel. Between sending out texts to all the parents and fielding phone calls, I would divert any conversation dealing with addresses, locations, maps, and directions to my husband. Thank goodness he was with me or I’d have been a hot mess of distress.
I started to realize later that many of the parents did not have much of an issue finding the new location because they simply plugged the address into their GPS. I kept hearing this numerous times (while I’d kind of roll my eyes and “whatever” when they said it because, again – luxury item that is just off momma’s financial radar).
After a trip to the mall with the boys, I hitched a ride home with another mom (letting Frank take the load of frisky boys). That’s where I got to see a GPS up and close in action. It was an “aha” moment for me. Like meeting candy for the first time or discovering the many uses for vinegar. Beautiful, beautiful. The remainder of the ride was spent discussing the GPS (she is map-disabled as well), “ooh-ing” over the functions and wondering how I ever made it around the block without it.
I realized immediately that a GPS, for me, was not a stupid or foolish novelty, but something that I’ve desperately needed for years. Turmoil avoidance in a handy little machine!! I really didn’t care if Frank (old-fashioned and a stubborn old man at heart) made fun of me, or that his friend thinks GPS systems are for pansies. Good, fine, I’m a pansy. But a pansy with a nice, new Garmin Nüvi 200W GPS. It’s not top-of-the-line, but it was within my budget, gets the job done and will be put to very good use.
The Garmin was pretty much ready to go out of the box. It came with a car charger and a mount. I had a bit of trouble picking up a signal at first, though, and for some reason I keep needing to put my home location in (or maybe that’s the way it is). I haven’t had to use it for an actual trip yet, and honestly haven’t even driven with it — but I did take a walk with it to set it up. Presently it is resting in my car, charging. I’m not really sure if I need to turn it off while it is not in use, or if I just leave it and it sleeps. It’s all a learning experience.
If you have any GPS tips or tricks, I’m all ears. If not, just don’t call me a pansy.