Monday, January 14, 2013

Turned over our lives to electronics, have we?

I'm an avid reader of scifi and I have been for almost 50 years.  Many of the stories from the beginning of science fiction until today have humanity turning their lives over to electronic devices.  It invariably wound up with the power off, and the people rioting and running amok.

I'm currently the proud owner of numerous forms of electronic entertainment and communication devices.  But, unlike the majority of people I know, I am reliant on NONE of them.  If the power went off right now, I'd be fine.  If nothing else, amid all my various gadgets, I do NOT own a GPS Unit.  I've rarely found the use of one.

Mainly because, I can read a road map and I've driven enough in the 48 lower states that I don't use a road atlas any more.  But I know people who can't cross town without one, many of whom should stay home or let someone else drive.  Here's a little story about a lady who should just STAY HOME!
I've read plenty of crazy GPS stories, but this has to be the craziest of them all: a 67-year-old woman drove for 900 miles over the course of two days because of a GPS error combined with her complete lack of attention. Her actual destination was only 90 miles away. 

The woman, 67-year-old Sabine Moreau, started her journey in her home town of Hainault Erquelinnes, Belgium. She wanted to pick up a friend at a train station in Brussels, just 93 miles north from her point of origin. But instead, she turned on her GPS, which told her to drive south, taking her turn by turn all the way down to Zagreb, in Croatia. Instead of a couple hours in the car, she spent a couple days to cover the 900 miles that separates both points in Europe.

During Sabine's odyssey, she stopped two times to get gas, slept for a few hours on the side of the road, and even suffered a minor car accident. How the hell did this happen without her noticiting? She knows it sounds weird, but she was distracted, she said:

I was distracted, so I kept driving. I saw all kinds of traffic signs, first in French, then German and finally in Croatian, but I kept driving because I was distracted. Suddenly I appeared in Zagreb and I realized I wasn't in Belgium anymore.
She wasn't in Belgium anymore?  She was barely still in EUROPE driving 900 miles East!  She drove OUT of her own country, and through several others, and didn't know it.  Now I realize that the borders aren't as tough as they used to be pre-Eurozone, but they've STILL got to be marked, right?  And how long did it take for this brainless twit to drive 900 miles?  It takes about 16 to 18 hours to drive that far, stopping for fuel and food and allowing for traffic.

This is much more a story about some lady who needs to give up her license.  If she's that goofy about distances, time and directions, how many people did she run off the road or otherwise hamper on her magical mystery tour? 

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