Saturday, January 02, 2010

GPS: Doom, or Lifesaver?

What is it with these people in Oregon? It happened again, like it happened before. 100 years ago this sort of behavior would have meant the end of that strain of the human family. After all, there are no lifeguards in the gene pool. And men are idiots.

On the other hand, I have mostly had the opposite problem, about using GPS. Usually it happens when I am riding with a woman (either the LMM, usually, but during the campaign my manager, Barbara, wife of frequent commenter Tom). I can't get the women to trust the thing enough.

The problem is that (many) men think in terms of a grid, with the car being a point in two dimensional space. North, South, East, West, that sort of thing. Women (many, not all) think in terms of executing a sequence of instructions: Go to Red Lobster, turn right, then go a ways and turn left before you get to that BP station with the giant yellow tire. Women (many, not all) seem disturbed if you violate the sequence of instructions, to take a "short cut." Men (basically all) love the idea of short-cuts, and are (almost always) wrong about it being shorter. So the skepticism of women, as in the two Oregon cases above, is well founded. Not saying one is better, just saying there really is a difference between man directions and woman directions. Like here.

Still....let me give an example on the other side. After the Charlotte debate on Oct 15, Barbara and I were heading back to our hotel rooms. "Bertha" (my name for the female GPS voice) said to turn left on a particular road, call it Smith Road. Barbara refused, because she didn't know that way. ("We have to go over to the Roy Rodgers, then cut behind the Bojangles, and go past the Kroger, and then take the next left...Course that Kroger isn't there anymore. But it used to be.")

After 20 minutes, we pass Smith Road again, this time coming in from our left. It had cut straight through, while we did a ten mile loop. Clearly, it would have been much shorter to blindly follow the GPS. Barbara: "I know, I know. It would have been shorter, but I didn't know that way!"

Bottom line: when it comes to campaign managers on the road, or wives anywhere, anywhere at all, just do what they say. You will all be happier.

(Nod to Anonyman for the Oregon link)


Schepp said...

Reminds me of a trip I took to a state natural area. I was out with my old school map. Out at the extreme end of the park, I found these to guys with fully equipped GPS completely lost. Number 1, they did not have an old school map. No. 2, they clearly were not keeping track of where they had been. Seem the old Peltzman theory of better equipment leads to more risk taking.

Also most women I know find North, South, East and West undefined. Just like you find, right and left are the only acceptable instructions.

Anonymous said...

It's not Oregon, most of those lost idiots are from out of state and the rest are from Portland (which is pretty much the same). Anyone with half a brain wouldn't use Forest Service roads, which aren't much more than gravel logging roads, as a shortcut. Or failing that, when the snow gets deeper, stop going further and turn around. If you got in, you probably can get out. Yet these people keeping going as if its going to thin out higher in the mountains.

P.S. How about some love to the Beaver State on the next episode of the Mike & Russ show?