Saturday, January 21, 2006

Follow the GPS

I confess it. I really like gadgets. It kind of makes my wife nuts. There are always some new wires draping over something or poking out from somewhere. It's not really my fault though, it's the fault of my kids, especially my two sons. They not only love gadgets more than I do. My oldest son has given several of these gadgets to me. And hey, what can I do but use them? So I love hot-syncing my pda to my laptop to my ipod. I think it is really fun to be able to take digital pictures and configure them into a blog site like this one. Both my sons are helping teach me to podcast sermons (I'm really slow at it, but they say practice makes perfect...ouch!).
Being a midwesterner by birth and choice, California has been a strange and disorienting place. The people of the Montecito Covenant Church have been very patient with my lost-ness and clunky way of speaking street names and cities. I confess to being west-coast deprived growing up. We never studied the geography of California very much. We knew basically the order of cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego....but nothing in between. So, in a wonderful gift of compassion, one of the church members gave a gift of a GPS unit to the church "exclusively" for my use (read; for the really lost guy!).
But hey, it's another gift and it's a really cool gadget. It talks in several languages and accents. It plots speed, distance, time to distance at speed. And when you take a wrong turn, it briefly chastises you and tehn recallibrates the route. I mean, it is fun!
Last week, one of our members had serious surgery in Los Angeles at the U of C Hospital. So I said I would gladly drive the 96 miles to the hospital for prayer before surgery (because I had the GPS). I got up before light and took off along the coast to LA. What a gorgeous drive with the sun coming up behind the mountains. The GPS worked perfectly, announcing the next turn in 1/2 miles, then increments of feet. The traffic was unbelievably thick, 6 lanes wide at times! But I did not worry so long as the GPS kept me on target. I drove by ABC studios, Disney Animation, it was so so cool! I suppose some of my fellow drivers wondered as they saw me smiling like a goof.
Soon I saw the medical complex ahead of me, just 1 mile to go. The GPS then began to announce I had to make a sharp right turn. I looked and did not see a turn, just an alley. That could not be it. There must be some mistake! I could see the medical center just around the corner, not to the right. So I switched off the GPS for the last yards....and got totally lost. I mean I got wrapped around the axel. I ended up parking in the county hospital lot designated for chaplains. Some kind hearted parking lot women pittied my "lost condition" and allowed me to park, pointing me to the real hospital (not the one I knew I saw). I scrambled through the multiple medical buildings till I found the U of C Hospital right near the "alley" I was sure was wrong. If only I trusted the GPS all the way there.
When I headed back home, this time I parked my common sense in the trunk and followed the GPS instructions through some rough neighborhoods and, what I again thought, was a dead end, right onto the freeway and directly home. Hmmm. Trusting your GPS? How about the Bible...all the way?


At 7:48 PM , Blogger Brad Boydston said...

You wrote: "I suppose some of my fellow drivers wondered as they saw me smiling like a goof."

That's another thing about being in the West. Cars are sacred personal territory. We don't actually look at each other when we're on the freeway -- that would be an invasion of personal space -- like peeping. (Or at least if we do look we pretend that we're not.) So don't worry about the goofy smile. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the bumper to bumper traffic -- at 75 miles per hour.

At 8:47 PM , Anonymous Zebulun said...

Traffic was fine on Lake Johanna but i had to watch out for ice fishin shacks.

Zach once told me he was heading out on 394 to get home to Aberdeen one winter and he and 4 other cars hit a large patch of glare ice at the same time. All four vehicles began to spin, the drivers catching each others perplexed glances as they spun clockwise and counterclockwise. Just as quickly as the out of control spins started they all steered out of the spins at the same time.

I recall one time taking your VW fox to McD's during my lunch break at the hardware store back when i was in high school. Taking a left at stinson off of 88 near 35w, i tried to turn right into the parking lot too fast and spun completely around. Facing the wrong direction of the entrance and with cars rapidly approaching i threw it into reverse and backed into the drive through, parked and got lunch.

It would be fun to see how some of those drivers handle glare ice at 65mph on the freeway. Driving becomes a real art, skill and gateway to spiritual experiences.

Perhaps as midwesterners we are so tuned to keeping watch for ice, deer and merging snow plows we can't help but to focus our attention outside our vehicles.

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