I’m Just A GPSter

Many moons ago, before the rock stars died, there lived a Tyrannosaurus Rex that played Jeepster. And they rocked the house many times, and it was pretty darn good. And yes, maybe I’m speaking in code, but those of you who grew up when I did may actually know that all that means.

The T.Rex performances were the 1970s, when technology was a bit different than today.  For example, when people wanted to go somewhere they used a very strange method: they used maps.

Now we have GPS units readily available and pretty inexpensive, too. More and more people are abandoning maps (and lots of other non-electronic things) for computerized toys. I’m beginning to wonder if the ability to read a map is slowly becoming a lost art.

Mind you, I am a self confessed road atlas addict. Ever since I’ve owned a car, I’ve made really sure there was a Rand McNally Road Atlas stashed in it somewhere. I mean hey kids, I don’t really care what language your GPS unit will use to tell you what turn to take. Maps are the cat’s meow in my universe. As I’ve gotten older I even have extended my map collection to a Michigan County Maps atlas. Now that’s livin’ large in my world.

Friends are often surprised to learn that I have absolutely no desire to get a GPS for my car; especially since I commute 56 miles one way to work. They figure such a device could come in handy when the snows or an accident bring traffic to a crawl and I seek an alternate route. And since they know I work in computer support, they are often baffled by my lack of interest in the latest cool electronic doohickey.

Well yes, I work in the computer field, but although technology provides me with a pretty good living; gadgets have ceased to amaze me. Don’t get me wrong, I think toys can be cool. I just don’t need any more junk. I’m guilty of owning plenty of stuff that’s not exactly eco-friendly: televisions, a computer, cell phone, etc. Don’t kid yourselves folks, none of these devices are completely recyclable. Some of it simply cannot be reused. So, my philosophy is to buy the best quality stuff I can so it will last lots of years. Conversely, my philosophy is NOT to buy stuff that will become obsolete quickly.

As far as the GPS stuff goes, my lovely girlfriend and I actually enjoy taking a wrong turn every now and again. Brings a little adventure into our lives; and helps us hone our map reading skills. OK I admit I did ask for a GPS for Christmas one year; but it’s the kind that will never need batteries. It sat on top of the dashboard of my 2003 Toyota Corolla and gave me a general idea which way I was headed. You may have seen one before, here’s a picture of mine:

As you may have guessed, this particular GPS is also called a compass. Some of you may say, “umm… Ken, that’s not a GPS.” Well of course it is; my friend Dave at work told me so. When I was joking about “my new GPS” after Santa brought it to me, he said, “well yeah… it’s a General Pointing System!”

Came in very handy; especially when I got stuck in traffic. If I was on my way home from where I worked in Grand Rapids (Michigan), and ran into some heavy traffic, I’d just zig and zag through the back roads until the car was pointed west. Pretty hard to go too far west here in Michigan unless you have an amphibious car. So even if I’m totally confused; as long as I can get to the Lake Michigan shoreline I can find my way home from there. These days, our son has the Toyota and I drive a brand new 2001 Chrysler Town & Country. It also has a GPS compass thing, but it’s an actual digital readout!! Much easier to read when it’s dark!!

Even though I like to take alternate routes; I stay on the roads; unlike some of my Jeepster owning friends. I don’t really like the practice, but a few of my friends have Jeeps or maybe Toyota Land Cruisers that will go places where my car would never be able to visit. So I’m a Jeepster of a different kind… a GPSter. I’ll still pronounce it “Jeepster” though, because I love the song.  I even sing it to my Beautiful Girlfriend every now and again.

Which song?? Remember that Tyrannosaurus Rex I mentioned at the beginning of this silly story?

This song: