I drove all night and into the morning to get to Niagara Falls.
Of course, that was the American side….the side on our part of the border with Canada.
We wanted to go to the Canadian side.
The printer had jammed on me at home when I was printing out the Mapquest info…..and in my disgust and weariness, I only let the page that was “coming” print correctly….so I didn’t have the last crucial bit of information with me.
I had all the parts that led me to Niagara Falls, NY….but none of the short description that would have carried us across the river and into Canada.
I guess that what we were looking for was the Peace Bridge…..but on the map, unless you had a magnifying glass and knew where to look, you’d never find it.
You’d never find it with your human eye.
You needed electronic intervention.
(No one that we asked for directions could help us in New York. I thought that was kind of weird. I could tell anybody how to get to some of our big tourist destinations. I could tell everybody how to get to the Carl Sandburg House, for instance….)
I was so tired.
When we plugged up the GPS and put in the destination, I trusted it to “take me home”….home being a euphemism for the hotel we’d reserved by the falls in Canada.
I’d downloaded a map update before we left.
Except for printing out all of the instructions…..and checking the brake pads….I’d done everything right.
I had done some preparation.
But, when I started to use the GPS, it took us all over the map!
Jenny kept telling me, “This is wrong. THIS IS WRONG!!! Look at the map….it’s taking us AWAY from where we need to go. Where is it taking us? IT’S WRONG…..LOOK AT THE MAP. LOOK AT THE MAP!!!!!!“
I was so tired.
I understand why men leave the tent in a panicked rush in a blizzard….disoriented and driven mad….or open the door to the submarine….or get more and more lost as they wander in circles in the deep woods.
I know what they feel.
I felt it in a minivan loaded with 4 children and my wife….listening to a crazy piece of electronics tell me, “recalculating” in a calm electronic voice, sending me straight into a New York HELL….sending me away from something that was close enough that I should have been at my hotel already.
Of course, we eventually gave up on the GPS.
I couldn’t trust something that would get me so lost so smugly.
That robot never even cracked a smile.
I stopped having faith in the Global Positioning System.
When we stopped for the worst “Mexican” meal I’ve ever had….at a place called Mighty Taco (how can you go wrong at a place called Mighty Taco? The hot sauce tasted like barbecue sauce with cumin in it. Can you believe that?)….the guy in the line behind me told me that I just needed to go down the highway here…..turn left at the light, follow the signs to “Peace Bridge” and then cross into Canada…..and, if I wanted a more scenic drive, take the road that paralleled the river…..and we’d get there in about an hour.
Bad Mexican was a more dependable source of travel information than 89.95 worth of refurbished electronics.
I told Jenny, after we’d been in Niagara Falls, Ontario for a while, that, “I drive about 5 hours every day with my job….but, between the long trip up here and getting lost, I think that I drove a whole weeks worth of driving just last night.”
It’s funny…. after the fact.
It’s funny when you’re safe and dry in a nice Canadian hotel.
Why did I trust a machine?
Didn’t I ever see “The Terminator”?
“Set the GPS” Tank Dilemma