Wife Vs. GPS

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couple navigating directions
This is one man who's happy to ask for directions. But should he trust his wife… or his new GPS?

I'm a man, which is supposed to mean that I'm not willing to ask for directions. But on this front, I've always been a little different. For the last nine years, my wife has been my shining directional beacon, a kind of sit-next-to-me Northern Star. When we lived in New York City, she would send me on the subway with yellow post-it notes that detailed the stops and transfers. Without these handwritten guides, I'd likely be penning this story as an emissary of the mole people.

But this year, I was given a Garmin global positioning system (GPS) as a birthday gift—a robot whose sole responsibility was to offer me the best route to take. It's a little surprising how quickly these things have become popular, for, according to conventional wisdom, the only way a man would take directions from a machine was if robots finally succeeded in taking over the planet. But apparently for most men it's not the same as asking directions if they come in the form of a mechanized female voice. 

 

Within days of receiving my Garmin, I felt like I had a new co-pilot, and I started reveling in the challenge of beating the estimated arrival times, cursing if I lost minutes to stop lights or traffic. Listening to my wife had never gotten me in trouble, but once the smooth British tones of our GPS entered our lives, I became torn: on one hand, I believed in my wife and all our history, but also, like most men, I place an irrational amount of trust in technology and science. Visualize and achieve—it's what men are taught as boys who play sports and why we doggedly believe in a collection of soldered microchips.

"Were other men giving in to the robot navigator?" I ask Bill, a Best Buy sales associate in the GPS aisle. "Guys always want the latest technology," he tells me. "But they come standard on so many things now, I think everybody uses them." And at the end of the day, the GPS can't mock our lack of directional sense. 20 Relationships And Technology Dos And Don'ts