There’s nothing like finding yourself in a situation when you’re forced to reflect on exactly how much common sense you truly have. A situation like this:
I have no idea why I decided that THIS was the day that I would put 100% of my trust in my minivan’s GPS (newly updated, mind you), but despite years of constantly doubting that my GPS truly had my best interest at heart as a driver or as a person, it was THIS day I thought, of course my GPS knows how to get me to my friend and business partner’s home. After all, she lives in suburbia, right?
As a matter of principle, I don’t do regrets. I do lessons learned…and holy crap did I learn a very valuable lesson that day: TRUST YOUR GUT.
My gut told me to turn around on three separate moments along my mini-van offloading adventure through Deliverance, but I ignored it simply because
1. My GPS wouldn’t send me to my death in a backwoods forest
2. I was less than 1.5 miles from my friend’s house, and
3. I allowed myself to rationalize my way out of certain danger.
Let’s take a look at each of these missteps.
Lie: My GPS wouldn’t send me to my death in a backwoods forest.
First of all, my GPS, and your GPS, for all its humanoid sounding tendencies, truly doesn’t give a shit where it sends you.
As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that my GPS doesn’t like me.
I often don’t listen to her and she’s sick and tired of telling me “when possible, make a u-turn”. Perhaps this was my comeuppance for blatantly disobeying her suggested routes.
With all of the movies about artificial intelligence, what if my newly updated GPS came with some sort of trial AI? What if my GPS was punishing me as part of some malicious plot for machines to take over the world?
What if I’m just an idiot and I should’ve known that a road with the suffix “PVT” meant that maybe I should’ve turned around and forced her to detour me against her will.
Lie: 1.5 miles on a paved road is equal to 1.5 miles on a dirt road with giant muddy water filled craters.
As i sat stuck in the mud, I realized that the 1.5 miles to my friend’s house (Krystel Spell of Army Wife 101 fame), might has well been 26 miles because I was in the forest…
…off roading in a mini van
…in the North Carolina wilderness.
At the rate I was going, I figured that if I opened the door to step out I’d find a cottonmouth…and be moments away from a headline on the 6 o’clock news in about two weeks or so. I shudder at the thought of what my news story teaser would be.
Think your minivan can handle off-roading? Think again. Suburban Florida woman found dead next to her van in the woods on unidentified road.
The Florida Man Reddit would have a field day.
Lie: You can rationalize your way out of certain danger.
Let’s take this gut check, by gut check:
Fact: Road is marked as private
Rationalized thought: Well, ton’s of newly established subdivisions have unpaved roads. I’m sure it’s not far from the main road.
Fact: Private dirt road meanders through a cluster of sketchily maintained trailers and discarded household miscellany.
Rationalized thought: Mmm….that’s a bit scary. But I’m only about 1.5 miles out from her house. It can’t be that far.
Fact: GIANT ASS MUDDY WATER FILLED CRATERS are ahead. They’re not safe to go through
Rationalized thought: I have a big car. I’ll just go around….I’m almost there…
and now I’m stuck.
Wheel spinning, water spraying, holy-crap-my-only-landmark-is-a-tore-up-abandoned-blue-couch-and-a-muddy-hole stuck.
I immediately called Krystel and asked exactly how far off the dirt road she lived and of course, she said the one thing I didn’t really want to hear,
“What dirt road?”
As panic set in, I said, “What do you mean? The GPS sent me this way and I’m about 1.5 miles from you. You know, the dirt road off of the highway?”
“Um, no. I mean there’s a dirt road but I never thought it led anywhere. We’ll come find you.”
I hung up the phone with her and jumped on the line with my roadside assistance service (thanks, USAA!) to get a tow truck out to wherever I was immediately.
As I anxiously awaited the tow truck, Krystel and her husband found me. The tow truck followed about 30 minutes later. They’d actually promised 10 minutes, but as it turns out on the way to get me, another car had gotten itself stuck behind me…get this… because he followed his GPS.
All of a sudden, I didn’t feel quite a stupid as I felt. I mean, I still felt stupid, but ya know, a little validated. That little bit of validation didn’t go as far as I needed it to, but I took it.
About 45 minutes post stuckedness, my van was torn from its muddy abyss and back on the pavement.
My bumper is a little worse for the wear and my tires and brakes are full of mud, but it could’ve been worse, right? At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
All in all, I will never trust my GPS again, I will always trust my gut, and I will never take my van off-roading again.