Summer traveling season is upon us. I have a couple of trips planned including a family reunion in Michigan so I went to Dan the insurance man’s office to make sure my insurance was up to date.
He had a bookshelf of goodies advertising his business. Pencils, pens, cups, key chains, lamps and I think there was even a guillotine. He said I could have anything I wanted. I said I want that desk. I chose a Road Atlas. I have a GPS but I like to look at maps. I don’t know why. I guess it gives me a sense that I’m in control, not that voice on my windshield.
I like the GPS, don’t get me wrong, but I love maps. Who wouldn’t love maps? Especially the kind you have to unfold. Kids today will never know the fun of trying to get that thing folded back to some form close to what it was when you first opened it. I once heard, “The only way to fold a map is…wrong”. GPS 1, Maps 0.
Where is the fun in having someone tell you precisely when to turn? It is much more fun to have a conversation something like this: Driver, “Tell me when to turn.” MTFO (map try to figure outer): “I got this.” Driver: “I’m waiting.” MTFO: “I’m looking. I’m looking.” Driver: “Well? Come on, it’s got to be coming up.” MTFO: “Here it is. I found it. Wait, wait. That’s not it.” Wait, I got it. It’s … right back there, we just missed it.” Driver: “I’m pulling over.” GPS 2, Maps 0.
Maps are great when you are traveling alone. Forget texting. Have you ever tried to unfold a map and try and read it while driving? I’m sure more accidents are caused because by maps than texting. At least with GPS you don’t have to recalculate, it does it for you. If you miss your turn because of a map traveling the Jersey Turnpike at rush hour you will be recalculating for 10 exits. Although, the last time I didn’t listen to the lady in my GPS, I lost two hours and I swear I heard her say, “Hey you idiot what are you thinking? That’s the third time you ignored me. Three strikes and you’re out. I’m done. GPS will shut down in 3, 2, 1.” What if I didn’t have a map? At least maps don’t talk back to you. GPS 4, Maps 1.
I like to know what is ahead. On maps you get little squares, green flags, H’s, blue roads, yellow road and red roads. Sounds more like a box of Lucky Charms. Personally I like blue roads on long trips. That means expressway baby. My favorite symbol is the red triangle. That means rest stop with bathroom and … more maps! That’s right. My map shows me where I can get more maps. The bigger the triangle the bigger the rest stop. The bigger the rest stop the more maps and the even more important brochures. That’s right brochures about places you will never go but have to have them. The best part is… they are free.
Thanks to my map I will now be able to plan my route to the biggest and baddest brochures on my trip. I will now get to see Sea Shell City (say that three times fast) without actually having to go there. Maps lead me to more maps and they are free. GPS 4, Maps 3.
The kids have to watch movies, the phones, iPads and iPods need to charge. Where am I going to plug in my GPS? GPS 4, Maps 4.
What? GPS won’t go on and it’s plugged in? It died? Maps don’t die they just get put in the glove box. MAPS 5, GPS 4. Maps win! Maps win!
Now you know why I like maps better. Hey! What’s this coffee stain right around Chicago? I can’t get around Chicago with a stain from Chicago to Michigan City. I’ll never get to Michigan. I wonder if Dan has any GPS’s on that shelf?
Denny Craft is a freelance writer/humorist and has just completed the book, "Cats Lay Eggs."