Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sometimes the destination is more important than the trip

Earlier this year, we moved into the GPS age here at our house. Obviously, GPS in cars wasn't new to us – I'd driven thousands of miles with my company's demo vehicles for media road shows. Each of the SUVs was equipped with in-dash GPS, which, the first time I used it, was just about the coolest thing I'd ever tried.

About a year ago, my wife drove up to meet me for a weekend in Vermont after I'd driven up earlier for a visit with friends. To avoid driving home separately, she rented a car that happened to be equipped with GPS and unerringly met up with me (the same could not be said for me when I drove up a day or so earlier, at night, and ended up off-course in the middle of the mountains...oops).

It was in April, however, that GPS came home with us in the form of two new, compact Garmin 260Ws for each of our cars. I thought a GPS would be helpful to Jennifer as she drove all over the state for meetings and for me...well, I like gizmos so how could I refuse!

While plotting our way on the map is still fun, I won't go on a road trip again without Greta or Gracie Garmin along for the ride ever again. Hey, the things talk to us in a pleasant female English accent so it's only polite to give them names. It's not like we're in love with them. Since that time, we've done our best to spread the GPS gospel with some success. My in-laws bought one recently and so did my folks (converts after borrowing Greta for a drive to Illinois and back to bring my brother to college this fall).

GPS may just be among the most useful gadgets I've ever owned, my Leatherman multi-tool and iPod excepted. It's everywhere now -- cars, boats, in phones. Is there anywhere it can't go? Is there any use too extreme for GPS?

Apparently, the bedroom and the art of seduction are no longer valid answers to that question. Really, I'm all in favor of making effective use of technology and, as I mentioned, I'm a gizmo and gadget guy but was the world truly crying out for GPS-enabled lingerie?

The "find me if you can" line of sexy nothings is now available to discerning and directionally challenged women. Or is it really for their men, whose lack of self-confidence and inability to trust others might spur them on to track their honey's every move? "A high-tech chastity belt" is how one feminist described it.

You've heard the saying "getting there is half the fun"? Well, apparently not anymore because when tracking this GPS signal, the fun comes when you've reached your destination. Heaven help you, though, if you start hearing your lover's undies stating, in that cultured English accent, "recalculating".*

* Credit where credit is due...I shamelessly borrowed the recalculating idea from ad libbed comments by Peter Sagal, the brilliant host of NPR's radio quiz show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. It was just too good not to use here. If you don't already listen to Wait Wait, please do. You won't regret it and your schedule is no excuse. It's available as a weekly podcast from iTunes.

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