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My Greatest Fear #5: Driving without GPS

Once upon a time,  I was very confident in both my driving and navigating skills, but over the last few years I’ve discovered just how much I rely on GPS to get just about anywhere.

The daily commute to work, the weekly trips to the grocery store/Target, and my bi-monthly trip to visit my parents are some of the rare occasions where I don’t actually feel the need to pull out the map program to double-check my route.

A couple of weeks ago I realized I needed to make a trip out to one of the many malls in the St. Louis area, and I wasn’t too worried about directions since I had made the trip out to this specific place countless times during the 18 months or so that I worked at a store there during college.

It wasn’t until I reached a certain intersection and needed to take a different highway that I realized my memory had failed me and I was about 2 seconds away from potentially being lost. As soon as I realized my error, I started to feel my chest tighten and breathing suddenly seemed like a challenge as I tried to wrack my brain for the route that I should have had memorized so well I could drive it with my eyes shut (something that obviously isn’t a good idea ever).

Luckily, I was on the phone with my older sister, and interrupted her mid-story to double-check the directions– and even though she also claims co-dependency on her GPS at times (and hasn’t lived in St. Louis for quite a while), she saved the day and gave me the right directions.

Since that day I’ve caught myself entering directions to places I’ve driven to a million times, and therefore should have the route memorized.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been solely at the mercy of the navigation to get me both to my destination and back home safely, and on the times when the internet isn’t getting the best signal or seems to be slower than usual on my phone, I’ve reached near panic levels at the thought of being stranded.

Getting lost in the city isn’t too worrisome, since I probably know enough of the major street names and landmarks to ensure I’d never really be lost, but a trip to visit my friends who live in “the county,” is an entirely different story.

Unless I’m on a major highway, 95% of the time when I’ve driven to friends’ houses outside of the city, I have no idea where I am or how I would be able to get anywhere without the assistance of my handy GPS app on my phone.

Being so dependent on a gadget that doesn’t always work exactly as it should (the last time I made the trip back from Illinois, it kept telling me to get off the highway and take surface streets through East St. Louis, umm no that will never happen) can be a little bit frightening, but short of carrying around maps to everywhere or studying directions thoroughly and memorizing them prior to driving, I see no other viable option.

So, for now I just hope and pray that I’m never caught in a situation where it malfunctions, or even worse, fails completely. I can only imagine what kind of trouble I’d get myself into in that scenario.

If, like me, you’re a little co-dependent on your navigation system, how would you react in a situation where it has failed or stopped working?


One Response

  1. melanie says:

    My friend Beth calls theirs “Lady Navigatey” and has a love hate relationship with the device as her husband listens to the Lady and follows blindly… even down the wrong path at times better than he listens to her… a real live person with a paper map and a good sense of direction.

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