Having learned to drive in a small town in Southern Utah, driving in San Diego is like driving the NASCAR race in Hogwarts. Along the Escher-like stairways of overlapping freeways of rapidly switching exits and entrances I constantly remind myself of deep yoga breathing to stifle the thoughts of panic and stress. My usual driving consists of my hands gripping the wheel, my shoulders intently leaning forward, and my neck straining to stay ahead. Most of my memories of driving are of my sister commanding me from the backseat while my mom reprimands her to be quiet; this is why I usually opt to drive alone. While I appreciate the availability of public transportation, I have decided to brave it and take a chance on the open road. After all, I commuted multiple times on I-25, I-70, and C-470 all during rush hour in Denver, so I might as well expand my experience from three lane freeways to five lanes.
At first my various treks were sans G.P.S., which actually fared well for me. Armed with directions via Googlemaps and my cell phone for an emergency lifeline of “Where the hell am I?” to a friend, I found my first few destinations very well. My confidence began to build when I lost my way home from a Pilates class downtown. Like most downtown areas, San Diego’s downtown is filled with one-way streets, limited parking, overpriced parking lots, and streets that indicate a no-turning sign even if the street doesn’t turn to a one-way street. On this momentous occasion, I followed signs for Balboa Park, but somehow ended up on a mystery freeway: Freeway 94. Having never heard of this freeway, I rapidly looked around for a pullover spot, when signs for I-805 appeared. Feeling lucky, I celebrated since I-805 will take me home, but the question of North or South quickly develops. Rather than phone a friend and use the “Where the hell am I?” lifeline, I decided to use my 50/50 and eliminate one choice. Unfortunately, I pick wrong 50 (I-805 South), but I get lucky again when I find a way to turn around. Later, my roommate informs me I-805 South will send me to Mexico. So I basically escaped the possible arduous task of returning to America sans passport. G.P.S.?!? I don’t need no stinkin’ G.P.S.
Success is fleeting, however, and eventually a G.P.S. is delivered to me. Normally I resist using updated forms of technology because of distractions, the risk of dependency, and just because I like to rebel against society and normalcy (even though at some point I give in and realize it’s just easier in the long run). This new piece of technology intrigued me, and I decided it might be useful and just plain fun to give it a name. A friend of mine named her G.P.S. Shirley, with the intent that “Surely we’ll get there.” I decide on Justin, because I plan on having this gadget “Just in case,” Will crosses my mind as well, because “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” However, my efforts are thwarted when a female voice speaks. I suppose she’ll have to remain nameless for now…
Getting lost seems to be a continuous occurrence, and the presence of my G.P.S. as a constant guest is very comforting. Today was no exception as I struggled to find locations, was late and committed the cardinal sin of all couponers by loosing the value of my coupon, and looped around in various circles while driving and hiking. With frustrations in other areas of life, I feel that a G.P.S. would be useful in all areas of life. Consider the following possibilities for example:
“In 0.5 miles turn left and meet tall, dark, handsome stranger. ” (Ooooo…)
“Turn right to open drawer and pack shorts to avoid possible farmer’s tan on hike.” (Good idea)
“Turn left in 1.5 miles and pick winning lottery ticket numbers…You turned right…Recalculating route…” (This explains a lot…)
My memories of being lost are of my mom driving in an unfamiliar city going the opposite direction of a one-way street and coming up with responses in case she gets pulled over. “No speakee Engrish, officer. Jim! Hurry! Come up with something!” she’ll say to my dad. My dad will usually come up with a few lines while my sister and I roll our eyes in the back seat. While I have no excuses being on my own, my usual feelings of frustration and becoming upset have lessened, because with or without a G.P.S. I somehow manage to get where I need to go, it just takes longer than I wanted. For now, my G.P.S. can serve as the audience I poll when I’m caught in a bind and don’t know where and when to turn. While I’m figuring out those turns I’m constantly in the state of doing my best to remember that not all who wander are lost…sometimes.