Friday, April 30, 2021

Directions II

A few weeks ago, I was at a stop light, take out food on the passenger seat. A pickup truck pulled up to my right, and the driver honked his horn. I pressed the button to lower the passenger side window. The driver, an older looking man wearing a cap, leaned out his window. "Do you know how to get to Route 495?"

Route 495 is an outer ring beltway surrounding Greater Boston. From where we were, the most direct route to Route 495 is North. But, since Route 495 is a half-circle around outer Boston, once you reach it you could either go North (Chelmsford, Lowell, Andover, Lawrence) or South (Marlborough, Hopkinton, Franklin).

"Yeah, 495," I began. "Just get on Route 3, which is straight ahead. Take it North, and you'll get to 495 in 10-15 minutes." He squinted at me, and said "Route 3?" I pointed straight ahead, and said "It's after the next light, straight." He nodded. "OK. Thanks!" As if on cue, the light changed. I turned left, and he went straight.

I drove home down Middlesex Turnpike, pondering our exchange. I thought to myself: "Who drives around without a GPS these days?" But then I remembered my own GPS-free drives. On those drives, if time is short and I can't work out where I am, I'll open the phone and have it rescue me. "Navigate home," I'll tell it, and soon I'm told where to turn.

(The last time I wrote about giving directions was December 2001!)