The Wonders of a GPS…

No one stays the same. We all change over time, especially in this age of rapid technological development. The past thirty years have taken me from LP records to CD’s, from VHS tapes to DVD’s, from a primitive Commodore computer to a powerful PC, and from network television to streaming and Netflix.

The most fascinating and most useful achievement in electronics to me is the GPS (global positioning system). I’ve been using and updating my Garmin for the past four years and become rather dependent upon it locally and especially for cross-country driving. It must be understood here that Helen Keller would make a much better pathfinder than I ever could. Hence my dependency.

I’m assuming that because GPS mechanisms depend upon satellite signals, all those devices work pretty much the same way. I chose a female voice with a British accent as my navigator and named her Abigail because of a wonderful biography I read a few years ago by David Mc Cullough about John and Abigail Adams, two of my favorite characters in the history of our country. Abbie’s voice has a realistic human timbre with an accent somewhere between those of Margaret Thatcher and Mary Poppins, and I find myself talking to her and even apologizing when I miss a turn as she says, “Recalculating.” I also lose my temper occasionally when Abbie tells me to make an impossible U-turn in the middle of heavy traffic on an expressway. She will also sometimes say things like, “Now keep right and then keep left,” or “Now keep left and then keep left.” I don’t even know what those directions mean. How does one change from left to left, or right or right?

And then occasionally Abbie will be silent for frighteningly long periods, when I imagine her napping or stepping out for a coffee break or a couple of martinis. Then suddenly she will inject a new direction, providing a sense of relief and renewed faith that she hasn’t abandoned me. In the end I always reach my destination, which only increases a dependency that thirty years ago I couldn’t have imagined. Now I’ve reached a point at which I practically need the GPS to find my car keys.    JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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