Monday, August 31, 2020

Sunday Driver

Of late, I've been taking long meandering car drives over the weekend.

In the lazy part of the afternoon, I'll jump into my car and start driving. No GPS, no set plan. I only decide what direction, then I take a highway and take an exit. I generally drive lost until I can find a familiar highway exit.

We moved earlier in the year, so these drives are helping me become more familiar with the area. I know all the nearby towns and cities by name: Billerica, Carlise, Bedford, Chelmsford, Woburn, and Reading. Driving through them is another matter.

GPS has made all of us expert navigators, but we shouldn't fool ourselves. We've become good at following a computerized navigator but our sense of direction, our sense of orientation is fading. GPS inhibits our ability to develop our sense of direction.

The GPS in my pocket (in the form of my smart phone) is a lifeline, but I resist it so that I can practice dealing with uncertainty. I am rewarded when I see the same landmark from previous trip, perhaps coming from another direction, and I feel my internal map becoming larger. More and more of the surrounding area is becoming familiar.

It's my afternoon adventure these days, but it's hardly strenuous. I'm not in the wilderness after all. If I get really lost, or if I truly uncertain which direction to take, I'll use that lifeline. Often I'll find I was near some place I already knew!

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