Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I had a "my stupid GPS app made me do that" episode of my own.


So I had this memory card that I was to borrow from a friend, whose name I cannot disclose here. He suggested he will drop the thing off on his commuter-train ride home in the station nearest to where I live at a certain hour and minute during its short stop there. The idea of this meticulously timed exchange of a "memory device" at a train station appealed to the adolescent in me as it sounded like a spy movie stuff.

My Map app told me it's only an 11 minute drive, yet this being my first mission of this kind, I allowed a few extra minutes, feeling good about my prudence. As usual, my mind was absent during the ride, but the hands followed the navigation faithfully, and I heard Siri saying "you arrived at your destination."

To my satisfaction, I noted that I still have a few extra minutes, and the train station was right next to me... except that I was still on I-90 amid the river of cars. I have to allow that the app indeed took me to the point nearest to the address, possibly even to the train itself, as the rails run parallel to the highway. But as soon as I arrived, I also had to leave instantly as it would be the natural state of someone driving on a highway... [as I recall, some smart-heads rolled off recently at Apple due to the app's performance.]

After a frantic few minutes of reversing the course, I managed to find way to the other side of the fence. Panting and running toward the station, I heard and saw the train just leaving.

So, my spy mission failed. After the sprint, which I rarely have these days, I felt, you know, like the exhausted Gene Hackman in the film "French Connection", at the end of the exciting car chase, having been finally foxed out of the subway train, as he watches the villain calmly waving his hands and riding away...? So, could my day have ended at least as an earnest-cop-chasing-villain kind of day if not exactly a Bond day? Only if the day had allowed me doing all this wearing a decent trench coat like Hackman did. But the weather was damn warm today. It is not the gritty 'hood in NYC either, but a quaint Newtonville.

Ahhhhhh I feel ridiculous.... No I AM ridiculous!

I once laughed hard at the news of a hapless German guy who drove his Mercedes into the river as he just followed the GPS instructions. If you laugh at someone, it always comes back at you. And I promise myself I will never get annoyed with customers of Honk who inquire why the App says their car is in the middle of the pacific ocean...

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