Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Navigating on the Road

I do the driving when Art and I are out of town. I don't think he likes driving on unfamiliar roads, and he thinks I want control. Whatever the reason, I drive.

Before I leave home I print out MapQuest instructions for every combination of destinations I can think of. I put the addresses in the Maps app on my iPad. I forgot to do both those things in Houston last month and we got very lost. I'd try to figure out the next turn, and Art would tell me his opinion, and I'd choose one, and sometimes it was right and sometimes not. When I was right Art was silent, and when I wasn't he told me I never listen to him. I have always thought of myself as having a pretty good sense of direction and of Art as being a not very good navigator. I think Art sees me as wanting to make all the decisions. At least that's what he tells me, with his voice raised, in moments of supreme frustration on the road.

This week we're in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we've had an especially hard time getting along in the car. So yesterday I said, "Okay. For the rest of this trip I will do exactly what you say when I'm driving." Our first challenge was going to a family meal at China Star Restaurant, with our grandson Alex in the back seat. Alex knows how to get to China Star, and he was telling me how to get there, but I was listening only to Art. That's how we ended up on a dead-end dirt road two blocks behind China Star. Then today, he told me to get in the left lane, and I did, and he said, "Well, this isn't the right street." Which I already knew, but I was listening to him. He got us to the destination without a cross word to me.

Today we decided to take a geocaching scavenger hunt around Santa Fe. It's a two-mile course visiting the landmarks in the old city. When we got to the GPS rental place I said, "Art, will you please learn how to use the GPS?" So the guy taught it to him rather than me. For the next two hours, Art was on a mission to get to all eight destinations. He walked several feet ahead of me as he scoped out the streets around us. We took several wrong turns. I was silent, because Art was the navigator. Again, no cross words were spoken between us pertaining to navigation.

I've heard the question, "Would you rather be right or be happy?" I'm learning, in the area of getting around by car and on foot in a strange city, it's better to be happy that Art is in charge of the navigation. He gets it right most of the time, and when he doesn't we just spend a few extra minutes picking up the trail again. It doesn't matter whether I knew how to get there or not.

We've learned a lot in our explorations of the area in the last week. But my biggest lesson has been to not think and to let Art figure out where we're going. It's easier on both of us that way.


24 comments:

#1Nana said...

Can you use your ipad for geocaching? My daughter's iphone has a GPS ap that is just as good as our handheld gps unit.

I understand the conflict between happy vs right, but dammit, I want both!

Kevin Higgins said...

Does it count as stopping & asking for directions when you have to pull over while Art uses the GPS? :)

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

I'm still giggling over Kevin's comment! As the self-proclaimed PRESIDENT of the directionally challenged club, I'm a SLAVE to mapquest and all gps devices! I'll take directions from ANYONE or ANYTHING that offers it, I know they'll ALL be more efficient than trusting my own instincts! Thanks for sharing this, and thanks so much for stopping by my blog and offering your sweet words of encouragement! Great to be back! Cheers!

Arkansas Patti said...

I have found that "right" does not sleep as well as "happy" does.
Besides, you are retired and have the time to take the "not so quick" way.

Muffy's Marks said...

Let him lead, you will explore areas you never realized existed! Start taking your camera to document those out of the way places!! Enjoy the ride.

Sightings said...

Speaking as a male of the species ... you're a saint!

Olga said...

Oh, you are a most patient lady.

Grandmother said...

I used to get stressed when my husband got us lost but at some point I heard getting lost referred to as just seeing a different place. It's all discovery. I relaxed and have a better time however we get to a destination.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

A fine line between happy & right! Matt drives when we go on a road trip and I navigate but it isn't the standard way most would think about it. Almost all our road trips are completely random. He drives and I point and we don't care about wrong turns because there aren't any when we go. We always end up back at the hotel at the end of the day and see things we never would have if we planned our trip. That works for us, not for everyone I'm sure but we're both happy and get some terrific pictures and memories :-)

DJan said...

It always amazes me when I get in my husband's car to go somewhere with him. He takes ways and avenues I never even thought of. We are from different planets when it comes to driving around. Your idea of being the driver, him being the navigator, makes perfect sense to me.

Linda said...

Oh, I could have written this post. We've had more hell in the car than anywhere. Finally, after 45 years I figured it out and said to myself "Linda, keep your mouth shut."

CB said...

I love it: give peace a chance! =)

Deb Shucka said...

You are a very wise woman! Isn't it amazing how long it takes us to figure these things out sometimes?

Out on the prairie said...

I use the GPS in my car a lot and it can misdirect you as well.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Love this post! So true -- and so wise!

Lynilu said...

Oh, wow, what a challenge! I would not have been able to do that with my hub. More power to you!

When I travel, I'm usually alone. Now that I have the GPS, I use it, BUT I always check the mapquest route, as well. Especially if I'm going through a big city that is unfamiliar to me. I've learned that the GPS occasionally acts like a husband, giving wrong directions!

turquoisemoon said...

BF drives soooo slow and gets lost, so I do all the driving and navigating. He's gotten two tickets for going too slow... It makes me crazy to ride while he drives. Oor to lead and have him follow me anyplace...I'd wear out my brakes. We never fought about it, kept my cool and humor, but it did get testy...LOL!

Retired English Teacher said...

Don't get me started! You can't always trust the GPS. My husband gets annoyed when I help him with directions and annoyed when I don't and he gets lost. It is a no win situation.

maggie's garden said...

Sounds like a peaceful solution to me...and peace is good. Bet you're enjoying the trip more this way as well.

Deere Driver said...

You are a better woman than I!

marciamayo said...

one of the many reasons I can't be married.

Paul C said...

You explore some wonderful dynamics about most marital relationships. It's good for both to have several missions in life. My wife is an excellent GPS navigator.

Tracy said...

Oh my, you are a braver girl than me...I do NOT like driving in the car with my husband because he thinks I just learned how to drive yesterday...telling me how to back up, watch out for that car, blah, blah, blah...what makes it even worse is I don't know my left from my right so then I really hear it!

June said...

I don't know how to get anywhere, and it works for us.