And I thought my GPS would save me from nightmares like the one suffered by Sabine Moureau, a 67 year old woman living in Wallonia, Belgium. The poor woman took off on a 55 mile trip to pick up a friend at a Brussels train station following the directions given to her by her GPS. She put her mind on auto-pilot and blindly (not a word you want associated with driving) followed the instructions of the friendly voice.
The next day, she arrived in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, more than 900 miles from her point of origin. It was at that point that she first suspected a problem. (Really, Sherlock?)
Moreau had traveled through Germany, Austria, and Slovenia to end up in the Central European country; she had filled up her gas tank twice; and she had stopped to sleep for a few hours. Just how long did she think it would take to travel 55 miles?
She said, “I switched on the GPS and punched in the address. Then I started out. My GPS seemed a bit wonky. It sent me on several diversions and that’s where it must have gone wrong… I saw tons of different signposts, first in French, later in German, but I kept on driving.” Reminds of the Postal Service motto: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” I can hear my husband saying, “USER error.”
There’s absentmindedness and trust, but there’s also being disengaged to the point of being a danger to yourself and others. I am terrible with directions myself, as Gayle will tell you readily, but even I have never traveled more than one hour in the wrong direction.
When the lost lady finally returned home, her family was relieved. They had reported her as missing. She was, and she may be still. And her poor friend who was left waiting at the train station? She managed to find alternate transportation. I would recommend that she do that permanently.
After all, if I lived in Richmond, Virginia, and wanted to go to Fredericksburg, Virginia, I think I would be suspicious when I passed a North Carolina sign. I would perhaps understand missing the North Carolina sign, but would I not see the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida signs either? Would I not realize there was a problem BEFORE I ran out of land on the other side of Miami? That would be roughly 900 miles.
I have a Magellan, and I call her “Maggie.” If Maggie ever does that to me, she can look for another job. If I head for Charlotte, North Carolina, and end up on the other side of New York City, someone please take away my driver’s license. Friends don’t let friends drive with their eyes closed and their brains turned off.