About a year ago, we bought a van with a navigation system. My husband loves gadgets, and he immediately began experimenting with it to see what it could do. At first, I didn’t like it. The Voice, as I came to call it, felt like an invisible backseat driver, and being told what to do grated on my nerves.
Then I took a new job that required travel, and before long The Voice and I became fast friends. I went from being a total skeptic to a full-fledged believer. All I had to do was type in my destination and its infinite wisdom guided me there. I stopped looking at maps and scoffed at my husband’s verbal directions. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said with confidence. “The Voice will get me there,” and it usually did, until…
I was on my way to a meeting in Hopkinsville and running a little late. I came to a red light, stopped, and The Voice said, “Turn right at the next light.” I sat there frozen, immobilized with indecision. The Voice said “Turn right,” but the sign said “Left only, one-way street.” What should I do?
A car behind me blasted his horn. I couldn’t sit there forever.
“You’re wrong,” I told The Voice. “I can’t turn here.” And I drove through the light.
“Make a U-turn if possible,” The Voice ordered.
I obeyed, thinking that perhaps there had been a glitch in the program and this time I would receive different instructions. I didn’t. The Voice again tried to get me to break the law and drive the wrong way down a one-way street.
“I told you I can’t turn here!” I yelled.
My face flushed hot with embarrassment. I was arguing with a computerized voice. My mother always said I would argue with a fence post. I guess she was right about that too.
The Voice and I are friends again, but I no longer believe everything it tells me. Every once in a while, life requires that we turn off the technology and use our brains.