Maps

August 8th 2017

Today my Grandad helped me find an alternative route home from work. I popped into his to see how he is, and as usual we exchanged favours. He got me to help with all of his technological difficulties and I got him to help with my directional deficiencies.

All of my driving life, since passing my test in 2012(?), I have lived in the smartphone generation. If I ever need to get directions for somewhere, I just find the postcode online, type it into Apple or Google Maps and press ‘Go’. Then I just follow the Australian man who speaks to me (out of my phone, not in my head), turning left when he tells me to turn left, and turning right when he tells me to turn right.

I end up at my destination, but if you then asked me to turn my car around and get back to where I’d just come from I’d be completely fucked. Surely you’d just work through the route backwards, turn right where you turned left, and get back that way? Yeah, you’d think.

Because I’m just following instructions I’m not actually paying any attention to where I am, where I’ve been or where I’m going, which is why if you asked me to do the route again (forwards or backwards) without Apple Maps, then I’d struggle.

I asked my Grandad to help me figure out an alternative way back from work, because the council have added in this new set of traffic lights on my commute that just messes everything up completely and will add about 10 minutes to my commute.

To figure out a new route, I got out my phone, and Grandad got out his A-Z Map of Great Britain. There’s a clear generation gap, there. He used to drive for a living, and he’s used to following (non-Apple) maps. I’m not. I couldn’t figure out which roads I took on his map, but I could on my iMap.

Eventually I snaked my commute backwards on his two-dimensional piece of paper and found where the new set of traffic lights would be. From there we worked out a route that would take me home, avoiding the lights.

That being said, I know for a fact that when I attempt to take that route tomorrow, that I’m going to put my iMaps on my phone just in case I get lost. If I take one wrong turning then I’ll get all flustered, confused, and end up in Wales.

Until tomorrow, and no one wants that.

Jacn

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