SINCE WHEN ARE U-TURNS LEGAL?

Last week’s comments about my self-check nightmare were generally sympathetic.  Others hate them as much as I do, but we figure they’re here to stay whether we like them or not, so we had better move into the 21st century.  I’ll be the first to admit, technology is great when it works.  But if you overuse it, it becomes a crutch that could be yanked out from under you at the worst possible moment.  Don’t believe me?

Try using your cell phone to call for help when your car breaks down in Amish country.

Try downloading a Kindle book while vacationing on a remote Lake Erie island.  You’ll end up on the library steps with your fingers crossed, just like every other camper who didn’t bring a paper book.

Try using your flashlight app after the power has been out for two days.

Try missing your exit and letting your GPS lead the way:

THE ADVICE NOT TAKEN*

Two roads diverged on the interstate
the traffic tight and moving fast
Ol’ Tom-Tom warned a bit too late
to queue up left instead of straight;
we missed our exit, blew right past.

“Recalculating,” Tom intoned
as he my waywardness discerned,
then silent went my chaperone
until his mocking monotone
advised an “authorized U-turn.”

I traveled on a mile or two,
past gravel U’s with glaring signs
prohibiting my passage through,
yet Tom-Tom didn’t have a clue,
repeating, twice, his standard line.

I shut him off and heaved a sigh
knowing, from that moment hence,
on map and wits should I rely
‘cause Tom, although a clever guy,
is not equipped with common sense.

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*A parody of Robert Frost’s THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

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16 thoughts on “SINCE WHEN ARE U-TURNS LEGAL?

  1. Tippy Gnu April 8, 2018 / 8:57 am

    This leaves me wondering what Robert Frost would have written, if he had GPS. A problem I have with it is trying to read the GPS screen while also watching traffic to avoid an accident. Like you, I’ve missed some turns by not reacting quickly enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 8, 2018 / 9:54 am

      If Robert Frost’s GPS works as well in the woods as mine, it would be of no help at all. At least life has no glaring signs prohibiting U-turns. The biggest problem for me is needing to keep moving without getting more lost while Tom-Tom takes his sweet time recalculating. People start honking and giving you the one-finger salute if you sit there and wait, you know? When two big highways split, they often start queuing you up before the GPS has made up its mind, leaving you scrambling at the last minute. I heard a story some time back about a guy who almost drove off a dock into a body of water because his GPS told him to (you can drive onto a car ferry when it’s docked there, but it wasn’t at the time). Happy Sunday, Tippy! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Klopp April 8, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Who has not encountered all the problems you described in today’s post?! When you live out in the country and your Internet is down, things are even worse. There are no internet cafes for hundreds of miles. We have become too dependent on all our digital devices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 8, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      I agree, Peter. Our reliance on our devices is growing… in another generation or two, nobody will know how memorize a phone number, do math without a calculator, write with an instrument other than a keyboard, find their way home without a GPS, or look up the answer to a question without consulting Google or Wikipedia. Maybe we should all take an electronic vacation once or twice a year, if only to remind us how technologically co-dependent we are and provide some much-needed peace. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marissa Bergen April 8, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    Very clever! That would be the poem…not the GPS. I thought they were supposed to be aware of those types of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 8, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      Thanks, Marissa. The all-knowing GPS has proven itself otherwise often enough to make me wary. Mine is especially fond of recommending U-turns, not just to correct an error but out of the blue, even when I’ve followed his directions to the letter. WTF. Once, we drove right past a campground we were looking for because the GPS insisted it was another .75 miles up the road. It insisted I had passed my destination (a doctor’s office it had directed me to before without any issues) when I could clearly see it still ahead of me, maybe 300 yards away. Another time, I called about an ad for a free desk. The lady said she had to give me the correct directions to her house, if I just plugged the address into my GPS, I’d end up at a stream without a bridge, where I couldn’t cross. We still use our GPS on trips, but it doesn’t absolve the need to maintain awareness, watch signs, and carry an atlas in the seat pocket. 🙂

      Like

  4. Quirky Girl April 9, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Mmm hmm. Sounds like you and your GPS get along as well as I do with mine. Good friends, indeed. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 10, 2018 / 1:51 pm

      We’re pretty forgiving of each other, but he hates when I go the “wrong” way and retaliates by taking forever to recalculate. I don’t travel long distance (like road trips in the RV) without adjuncts like handwritten directions, a map, a compass, etc. Also important to remember: a portable Tom-Tom doesn’t know what you’re driving. He doesn’t realize he’s in a motorhome and cannot go where 18-wheelers are prohibited, like every “parkway” in New York, or that he should avoid the George Washington Bridge because something with six axles (like a motorhome towing a trailer carrying a VW Bus) will be charged $60 to cross. The poor toll booth lady had to wait while I ran to the back, yanked the travel safe out from under the bed, put in the combination, grabbed three twenties, and returned. Travel is full of surprises. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. TK April 11, 2018 / 12:30 am

    Reminds me of when I used to live in suburban New Orleans and almost every street would have signs indicating legal u-turns. Never thought I’d live to see the day

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 11, 2018 / 6:18 pm

      Really, TK? Maybe Tom-Tom and I need to move there. Thanks for the 411. 🙂

      Like

  6. L. T. Garvin, Author April 12, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Oh, those infernal GPS contraptions, I’m afraid that I’ve been on one or two of those roads both more traveled and less traveled too. Your clever verse just goes to show that those things are not 100%. My in-laws went to visit their granddaughter stationed in England. The granddaughter’s phone had run out of battery and she didn’t know how to get home when she picked them up from the airport. She didn’t know how to read a map either, lol. An excellent and timely poem, Joan 😀

    Like

    • Just Joan April 13, 2018 / 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Lana. GPS’s are great, for sure, but they have their quirks and limitations. How funny about your in-laws and the granddaughter having no idea how to get home from the airport without her phone’s GPS. That is exactly the sort of future I’m worried about. My hubby has a fondness for gadgets and storing things in “the cloud” but technology always fails us at the critical moment. When we’re lost, hungry, or in need of the number for Roadside Assistance, somebody is busy recalculating, or the phone battery is dead and the car charger we bought turns out to be incompatible. Mistakes are valuable if we learn from them; I’ve learned to have a non-technological back-up plan. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. circumstance227 July 9, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    This is such a scream, 42 – I just love it! I notice everyone commenting about their GPS devices and the problems they’ve had with technology. I, on the other hand, keep picturing Robert Frost standing in the woods and not being able to decide for himself which path to take, then simply turning around and going home.
    “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
    And I . . . I took neither one of them.
    So I have nothing to say now.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 9, 2018 / 7:33 pm

      Howdy, 227! Nice take-off on Robert Frost… perhaps the human mind came up with the U-turn before the GPS did. And that has made all the difference. PS: If RF couldn’t choose between two roads in a yellow wood, do not send him to the paint store! 🙂

      Like

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