My wife and I quite often get lost in the car. We don’t have GPS, we don’t have Blackberries or iPhones, we don’t even have an atlas or a map for virtually all of our destinations. I like to rely on instinct, the position of the sun, and found Wi-Fi (when necessary; does everyone know that McDonald’s now offers free Wi-Fi at most locations). In all seriousness though, it’s usually just Google Maps, good transcription, and better recitation of these directions from my observant wife which always gets us safely from point A to point B. Some people think we’re crazy to head out anywhere this way (my mother is having an affair with her GPS, I think. Not having an affair with someone else, she’s just in love with her GPS) but far be it from me to diffuse anyone of such perceptive suppositions.
Regardless there are times when we do get lost on highways, by-ways, in-town, cross-town, out of town and all that; sometimes it’s easy for the lost individual to curse a number of extraneous variables; the poor local signage, the crazy routes one takes to avoid tolls, the above-mentioned lack of proper modern equipment, the negligence of the cars assigned navigator; and blame that on their being lost. I choose a more deep-seeded vantage point when I’m talking about all of that; I like to imagine the alternative, the road not traveled.
“Well,” I always say whenever we right our course, “we just saved pain for a lot of people.” My wife solemnly nods in agreement. “We just saved our own lives as well…” I say, “…what with that horrible accident we just stopped from happening by our getting lost.”
I like to think of the road not traveled as our saving lives. Yes it is a small inconvenience for our immediate needs but our getting lost, taking a different route, or otherwise delaying our trip in some manner or other, has irrevocably changed the course of history, taken mankind in a wonderfully positive and progressive direction, and made the world a little bit better place for everyone.
Some would offer that I am living in an alternate reality which is not really of this century or at all correct and I’ll allow that. Each individual’s reality is, in the end, their own. And I probably should get into the history of the moment, plug myself in to all these alternate modes of communication, and get hip to a newer tomorrow. But as I watch all these techno-heads from the generation just succeeding mine and even my dear old mom, always plugged in to their electronic equipment, watching their movement go “ping-by-ping” on some digital screen that is their reality, I think I’d prefer the road I take any day. It may take me a little bit longer to get there sometimes but it’s a ride I wouldn’t trade for any other.