OUR FINAL DESINATION

Wrong TurnsWhen was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.


It was late in the day when we rolled into Gettysburg. Tired, ready for a shower and a meal, we asked Richard our faithful GPS to take us to the nearest motel. We followed his directions carefully.

main street Gettysburg

It was our first visit to the area. Road-weary, we were too exhausted to deal with getting lost and we were (are) often lost. Diligently, we followed Richard’s directions.

After a few turns and one long straightaway, Richard announced in his loud, clear voice: “You have reached your destination!” Indeed we had, though it was not the one we had it mind.

As far as we could see lay miles of tombstones. Richard had brought us to our ultimate destination, what must have been Gettysburg’s largest modern cemetery. It stretched for miles.

Who knew our GPS had a sense of humor? We didn’t stop laughing until we finally found the EconoLodge.

REACHING OUR DESTINATION

We were approaching Gettysburg. Tired and hungry, it was a long haul from Williamsburg to Uxbridge. Not a trip to make in one day. We needed to stop for at least one, maybe two nights. We had to pick a stopover; Gettysburg was on the route. And I wanted to see it anyhow. Being such a tourist town, it was bound to have lots of places to stay.

Gettysburg buggy

I never worry that we won’t find a place to stay. I know it’s possible, but in all the years of traveling, in and out of the U.S., there has always been a place to stay. It might not be exactly what we had it mind. Sometimes it turns out awful, more often, a happy surprise. That’s why I like tourist traps. They’re ready for visitors. Lots of them. Plenty of motels, restaurants and the only color they care about is green.

Tunnel-Lane-Gettysburg

It was late afternoon as we rolled into town.  We asked Richard, our faithful GPS, to take us to the nearest motel. We followed his directions carefully since it was our first visit.

Finally, Richard announced in his loud, clear voice: “You have reached your destination!”

Indeed we had, although not the one we had it mind.

As far as we could see lay miles of tombstones. Richard had brought us to our ultimate destination, in this case what must have been Gettysburg’s largest modern cemetery. It seemed to stretch for miles. Who knew a GPS could have a sense of humor? We didn’t stop laughing until we finally found an EconoLodge.

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land – Magic Time!

Last summer, we drove into Gettysburg on the return trip from Williamsburg. It was late afternoon, so we asked Richard, our faithful GPS, to take us to the nearest motel. We followed his directions since we were in a town we’d never visited. Finally, Richard announced “You have reached your destination!”

Indeed we had, though not the one we had it mind for that night’s repose.

As far as the eye could see, Richard had brought us to what must have been Gettysburg’s largest non-war related cemetery. It seemed to stretch for miles. Who knew our GPS had a sense of humor? We didn’t stop laughing until we finally found the EconoLodge.

Ghoul Soldier

I’m the world’s best traveler. I love it all. The good parts, the weird parts, the things other people would call the bad but I just think of as part of the adventure. I love it all. Short of food poisoning or getting arrested by a local militia for crimes against the revolution, it’s all good. Oh, and don’t make me eat bugs. I don’t like bugs. And I will admit I prefer it not rain the entire time.

I love meeting people — weird and otherwise. I love seeing different architecture, customs, local legends. I don’t care if no one speaks English. As long as they don’t point a gun at me (in which case, I’m gone), I’m up for anything especially if it makes a good photograph. So’s my husband. We travel well together.

Lost in Rhode Island

I used to commute from our house in Uxbridge, Massachusetts over 100 miles to Pfizer in Groton, Connecticut. In a desperate and hopeless attempt to find a shorter route, I experimented with various combinations of back roads. There was no truly direct route and it was such a long drive, I didn’t think I had much to lose.

GrotonToUxb1

I have been lost for most of my life. I’ve been lost all over the United States, England, Wales, Ireland and Israel. GPS technology was relatively new and while some people had them, most didn’t. Including me. I had an atlas, but whatever road I was on never seemed to be on the map.

One evening, at the end of my long drive home from work, I got lost in Rhode Island.

I wasn’t a just little bit lost. I was completely turned around, totally confused. It was dark; I was low on gasoline. I didn’t recognize anything; it all looked the same.  Eventually I realized everything not only looked the same, it was the same. I was driving in circles.

Rhode Island Road

I called home. At least my cell phone worked. It didn’t help. Since I didn’t know where I was, I couldn’t tell anyone how to find me. I was much too embarrassed to call 911.

I drove around for what seemed forever hoping to find a familiar road or see some kind of landmark by which I could orient myself. Eventually — tired, hungry and humiliated — I found my way home. I had been no more than a few miles from my house. The following day, I bought my first GPS.

There’s a moral in this story, but I have no idea what it is.

So many question, so little time …

Bonnie watches the storm - Marilyn Armstrong

Why oh why …

How come I never notice that my glass is empty until I’ve gone and gotten my medications and settled down in front of the television?

Why don’t I realize I have to go to the bathroom until after I settle into the sofa with the dogs? For that matter, how come you don’t notice you have to go until you’ve just passed the last rest stop for the next 40 miles?

Why doesn’t the GPS work in the middle of town or in mall parking lots where you really need it most?

BonnieAndSue

Why don’t I realize I forgot something I want to take on vacation until we are just far enough away from home to make it really inconvenient to go back and get it?

Why don’t I remember why I’m standing in the kitchen at all?

How come the dogs need to sing the hallelujah chorus on the only morning all week I can sleep late?

Why can I only think of a good witticism the day after the party?

Bishop on guard

Why don’t I check to make sure I have enough eggs before I mix the rest of the cake batter? Why didn’t my granddaughter mention she’d used all the eggs? And most of the milk? And the sugar?

Why doesn’t anyone but me ever wash the measuring spoons?

Why do you always find that thing you were looking for after you’ve replaced it?

Why does everyone’s back go out at the same time?

Why are all the bills due on the first of the month?

Life is full of questions without answers.

So many questions, so little time …

I use a smartphone to make phone calls … I am obsolete.

My husband and I have Blackberry Smartphones. These days, I have the Torch (it was on sale), but Garry still has the Curve. He uses it for email, to track appointments, and to make phone calls. The reason we both wound up with Blackberries and not iPhones was simple: iPhones have pathetic voice quality for making phone calls. So do most smartphones. Blackberry is the only one that seems to care whether or not you can actually hear the voice on the other end.

No one, apparently, makes phone calls anymore, so phone manufacturers aren’t interested in telephone voice quality. Everyone is obsessed by apps. They want to know what apps they can use. They text, play games, take pictures …. but they don’t use the phone as a phone.

In this household, the only thing for which we use our telephones is to communicate and keep our schedules. That’s it. I lack the pointy little thumbs that make texting convenient for younger people. It’s a genetic adaptation I don’t have. My thumbs do thumb-centric things like grasping tools: they are not good for typing except touch typing where they are fine for whacking at the space bar.

Why would I want to do all that stuff on my phone when I have a desktop, a big laptop, a net book, and a tablet? If I want to take pictures, I have two Olympus PEN camera bodies plus 4 high-quality lenses, as well as a small superzoom point & shoot Canon that I keep as backup in my purse. My telephone is good for three things: making and receiving phone calls, synchronizing with Outlook‘s calendar (so Garry and I know who’s going to which doctor and when) and email. He uses it for email a lot more than I do. I prefer a full-size keyboard.

I use a camera for taking pictures and a computer for most everything else. I know that my Torch has a ton of capabilities I never use and I don’t care. I don’t want to use them. Twice I have used my phone to take a picture because it was the only thing available. Otherwise, I like cameras for photography, computers for computing, GPS units for navigation, and telephones for talking to people on ….tada … the telephone.

Unless you are on the road all the time without access to WIFI, what possible advantage do you get by running your world from this tiny device? Why do you even want to? Is it the only mobile device available to you? You mean you don’t have a laptop, netbook, or tablet?

I genuinely don’t understand why anyone feels a pressing need to use a small inconvenient device to do things that are so much easier to do on a bigger device … which they probably already own.

How well do I understand my phone? Enough to do what I need to do. It has good audio for telephone calls! It’s a telephone, you know?

One day, people will discover that they are doing everything the hard way. This is likely to occur when the younger generation starts to hit their late 30s and 40s and discovers they can’t see tiny little objects without special glasses. It happens to everyone and nothing you do will prevent it.

At that point, like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, an entire generation will realize that it’s a whole lot easier to type on a keyboard, edit graphics and format text on a monitor large enough to see more than a few words at a time and bright enough to tell whether or not the photograph is in focus (what a concept!). They will be shocked by the discovery, thrilled to realize they no longer need to squint at a tiny screen when they could see the whole thing on a big bright high-definition monitor! It will be an international epiphany of epic proportions!

Not only that, but maybe people will remember how nice it is to hear the voice of a loved one, not just see a text or email. We might even rediscover (be still my heart) intimacy. You never know. Human relationships may come back into fashion!

I’m already there.