Leaning on a GPS unit for your thinking

I’m not going to buy one of those GPS whatsits. I hear friends talk about them like we used to praise cellphones. They say they don’t know how they ever did without them. I do.

I’m troubled by two adjacent products I saw at The Sharper Image over the holidays. One, the store-full really, to reduce the physical effort required for menial tasks, the other, an honest to goodness little gadget to help you exercise your wrist and work on your dexterity. Confusing? It’s the same cycle we’re on with food. Eat craving-satisfying garbage, work it off with exercise equipment and sportswear. This is not a rat-race, it’s a gerbil wheel.

So what kind of aerobic workout do we need to make up for the mental activities we laid off when we hired the GPS? Sudoku? Concentration?

When driving, I’ve always made a game of trying to navigate by intuition, itself I like to think based on acumen. This might not always have been fun for my passengers, but there I assure you the grief was reciprocated.

What becomes of our minds if we don’t run our spacial recognition abilities through their paces? I’d no sooner gotten used to headlights which turn on and off automatically, and then I traveled to Europe. My rental didn’t have such a feature so what happened? I was leaving the lights on every time I parked, looking every bit the oblivious American.

Lately I’ve become accustomed to a car whose doors lock themselves automatically when you forget to do it. What kind of idiotic figure am I going to cut now as an international driver? Americans have a now celebrated disability with maps. We might as well send our GPS-equipped cars on ahead without us.

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