Google gets me. Someone far in the nether regions of some Google campus, deep in the bowels of some massive cubicle- filled room, some lovely Google employee gets me. I really need to send her a gift basket. While the rest of the world happily processes map directions, this woman and I, we drive to the tune of a different type of instruction.
I’m the person who when asked by a stranger how to get to the nearest gas station will say something like, “That’s easy. Turn left as you leave this parking lot.” (As I say “left”, my head and left shoulder make a decided left lean to indicated which left I’m referring to lest the traveler be puzzled and inadvertantly go to the right.) “Then you go about 2…maybe 2 1/2 miles down the road, at which point on the right (reverse head tilt) you’ll see a giant mostly dead tree with turkey buzzards (hands now flapping) roosting in the top. Just past that there’s a road with a teeny weeny (thumb and index finger squeeze together to demonstrate just what is meant by “teeny weeny”, again, lest the listener confuse it with “massive” or “huge”) teeny weeny little road sign, almost like they didn’t really want to commit to giving it a name. In fact, I really don’t know the name ‘cuz the sign’s so small I’ve never really seen it.
Well anyway, at that sign, don’t turn. You don’t want that road. Go till you see a road with no sign, just past Joe Flitter’s Whippy Dip Ice Cream place. THAT’s your road. Remember, left at the Whippy Dip. Soon you’ll pass three crosses and a kinda raggedly looking teddy bear on the side of the road where there was this nasty accident three years ago. Trooper said they thought they had it all cleaned up and “Kathwump…something fell outta the tree. And they were busy till dawn with… ” And on and on it can go till the person is either intrigued by the local history lesson they’re receiving or are backing away…slowly…hoping they’ll be able to lock the doors before I lunge at them with my sharpened teeth. In either case though, they are hopelessly lost.
I’ve learned that giving directions are not in my skill set (or subset). That’s why I don’t typically give directions. I’ll defer to someone nearby who has a better chance of providing something useful…like say, the visiting relative from Finland who just stepped out of the cab.
But that lovely woman at Google maps has my number.
I was on-line today obtaining directions from my house to a place where I’ll be speaking in a nearby state. I plugged in my address and the address of the facility. I got my usual step-by-step directions and a lovely chunk’o’map that had been cut out of a larger map, saving me all that folding, salty language and getting lost that usually accompanies traditional larger paper maps.
Then I saw it.
An unobtrusive, perhaps even humble little button, completely unfamiliar to me…and yet, with a curious name.
I was calm but intrigued as I clicked on the shy button. But what followed was nothing short of life changing.
Suddenly, along with the written directions so familiar to all map users, there exploded onto my screen PICTURES. Yes, I said it, PICTURES of just what the scene would look like if you were following the directions clearly. Someone had taken a little camera, driven the route I wanted to take and snapped little photos of it all the way along. God bless her and her little camera too!
For those of you who don’t think like me, this is totally useless if not bizarre. Fine. Say what you will. Go on with ya then. Follow your boring I-84’s and Route 475’s. Ease off your Exit Ramp 7. Proceed under the overpass till you can merge onto Highway 92. You can have it. Not only do they all sound the same, you miss so much of life, so much of the story that the road has to tell. You can have your written directions. I’ll take my turkey buzzards and Whippy Dips any day.
Bless you Google Maps.