In a recent column, I wrote about what happened when the GPS capabilities of my mobile phone went out while driving my son to camp.
So when I had to pick him up this past weekend, I decided to drive to the camp without using my phone's GPS. After all, I had been there just two weeks before and so I certainly should know the way.
Besides, the camp is in northern Connecticut, so it's not as though I could get too lost.
As I drove to the camp, I remembered how I had driven the road a number of times before and I was quite pleased that I remembered the route, turns and even the landmarks. Because I was not bothering to listen to the GPS device, so was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
When I was within about a mile of the camp, I saw the sign for the camp.
But when I read the sign, it hit me. I'd driven to the wrong camp! Instead of driving to the YMCA camp, I drove to our church camp!
To be fair, my son had attended the church camp, too, and it's also in northern Connecticut. But boy, did I feel foolish.
This introduced two new problems for me:
First, there's a window of pickup times at camp, and I was already in the middle of that window. Would I be able to get to my son's camp in time?
Second, how was I supposed to get to the correct camp? I had never driven West to East to get from the church camp to the YMCA camp.
So I turned to my trusty phone's GPS and typed in the address of the YMCA camp.
Luckily, the GPS device told me that I would arrive barely in the approved window to pick up my son, and it gave me very nice turn-by-turn directions to the YMCA camp.
So I sheepishly followed the GPS and learned another lesson that I had forgotten when not using a GPS: Check the map before leaving home so you know what route you're going to take.
Finding my way home was very easy. I did NOT need the GPS, as my abilities to navigate home are still pretty good.
With my son in the car after two weeks at sleep-away camp, he asked if I had our iPad, which I did not. He then asked if he could use my smartphone, which I knew I would not need for the drive home.
When I gave my phone to him, he said: "Oh, good, an electronic device. I haven't been able to use one of these for two weeks."
I guess being off the grid for two weeks is hard for all of us.
Mark Mathias is a Westport resident and has worked in information technology for more than 30 years. His "Living With Technology" appears every other Friday. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org