“Turn around when possible.”
Deep breath, I told myself, willing the navigation app on my phone to do what it’s supposed to do, and help get me home.
“Take the first left, then another left, then another left.”
At this point, there was steam coming out of my ears.
“I can’t take the Parkway! The Parkway is not an option. What about that is so confusing?!”
Once again, I was engaged in a battle with my GPS. Trust me — in this battle, there are no winners. I was flustered and upset, and therefore, was not thinking straight. It was pouring rain, and an entire section of the Garden State Parkway had been closed due to flash flooding just as I was driving home from my weekly meeting with Anthony. I needed to find an alternate route, but my GPS couldn’t seem to grasp that concept. Despite the fact that it detected “major traffic delays,” it kept leading me back to the one road that wasn’t an option.
I decided I’d pull into the next restaurant or convenience store and wait out the storm, but there were none to be found. The one time I actually wanted to find a McDonald’s, there were no golden arches in sight — Murphy’s Law strikes again!
I cursed the fact that I don’t own any paper maps — something I tease my mom about mercilessly (who’s laughing now?), and that’s when it hit me. I was going to have to put on my Magellan hat. I cancelled the planned route and used the app as an actual map, zooming in to find back roads that would take me home — eventually. Although what is normally a 45-minute ride took more than two hours, I was grateful just to be headed in the right direction. I was also glad I didn’t throw my iPhone out of the window, which I had been considering at one point.
When cooler heads (or, in this case, the only head) prevailed, I realized that by expecting a tool to pick up on a road closure that had just happened, I was pointing the finger at the wrong party. This one was on me. Blaming an app for not being able to change the directions on the fly is ridiculous. It was my Michael Scott moment, I thought, remembering a scene from the Office in which Michael drove his car into a lake because he thought it was what the GPS was telling him to do. Although his coworker, Dwight, tried to stop him, Michael barreled on, yelling, “The machine knows where it’s going!”
The machine, as we all know, doesn’t always know. No matter how many updates a system or an app may get, there are still going to be times when it will have you going in circles. When this happens, you have to be able to reroute. Stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and figure out an alternative. It may take longer, but at least you’ll reach your destination — eventually.