A GPS can be a blessing as well as a curse. My nieceís college graduation had us in the car traveling from North Carolina to Louisiana. But having only been to my sisterís house one other time, I was unsure of how to get there. While I could have punched her address into my phone, I knew my co-pilot would need it for texting, calling and posting updates to Facebook. Therefore, I dug out our old GPS and programmed it with my sisterís address.

The old GPS had not been updated since we purchased it in 2008. Upon turning it on, I got two warning messages about the  potential inaccuracy of the directions because of update neglect. As we pulled out of the driveway, I had already decided I would use the GPS as a guide, rather than the final word.

When we reached Atlanta, I had a memory misfire. I was sure we needed to head toward Birmingham. Thatís because when my sister lived in Oklahoma, we had to drive through Birmingham to get to her surprise birthday party. The GPS was trying desperately to guide us toward her Louisiana address. But I figured the GPS would recalculate and get back on track soon, since it hadnít been updated since 2008. But as I followed the signs toward Birmingham, the GPS had a coronary and nearly fell off the dashboard.

Since it refused to recalculate, trying instead to coax me into making a u-turn on I-20, I called my sister. She laughed and said I could go through Birmingham, but it would add an hour or more to the 12-hour trip. I was so distraught at the thought of being in the car another hour or more, I nearly did a u-turn on I-20.

We made up the 10-minute detour by getting to-go food along the way and keeping pace with the traffic. And I learned that even an outdated GPS can be trusted for the major directional decisions. I also learned that my memory could use just as much updating as the GPS.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content strategist is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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