Don't Trust the Voices


Yesterday I traveled from home (Devils Lake) to Sioux Falls, SD for a conference.   I didn't need any help navigating my way here because I've been here a few times before and I'm enough of a Dakotan to know there are really only two main ways of getting somewhere in the flyover states; east and west or north and south, otherwise known as across and up and down.

We don't have much to offer in the way of diagonal routes and even if you can go cross country in a shorter fashion you find yourself zigzagging for short distances before turning south again and then a little more east, etc.     I recently drove to Bismarck hoping to shave off a few miles by avoid 281 and traveling the back roads.   I drove about 40 miles out of my way because Google Maps took me by way of Minnewauken.

Yesterday I was planning to refuel in Watertown because I wouldn't make it to Sioux Falls or even Brookings on what I had left in the tank.   However, in my typical fashion I missed my last exit into Watertown and because I was trained to follow the rules of the road and not drive across the interstate even though I had just witnessed the same, I did not turn around but instead did a search for a gas station.

I did not use Google Maps, but simply pushed Siri's button and said “nearest gas station to me.”   Unfortunately this proved to be some 8 miles away but I didn't have much choice so off I went.   As I approached this little town I should have recognized what is true of most rural towns, that when you see the elevator or the water tower, that's where the business district most likely is located.

However, trying to obey Siri's directions I turned down a street parallel to the main road and wound up near the cemetery and eventually the golf course, a sure sign that you are heading out of town.   So like a maverick I turned right and drove into town myself past the ball park and high school.   The station I was rerouted to was closed and so I drove to the next, which sits just along the highway I was previously told to leave in search of said gas station.

I have more conversations with Siri that begin with “I don't care what you think” than I would care to list.   I think sometimes intuition is better than GPS, at least until   we perfect the   science of satellite navigation.   Then when you think about how amazing it is that we can   yell at a phone and have it show us turn by turn (usually) directions I guess it's not so bad.   I just really hate to be lost and late!