Your GPS Is As Good As Mine

My wife Carol and I have the same model smartphone, and yet she continually claims hers works “differently” than mine. I am, for example, a big fan of giving the phone verbal commands to get directions, make phone calls, compose text messages, order pizza — but Carol claims her phone “doesn’t do any of that.”

When I remind her we have the same phones, set up the same way, running the same operating systems, with the same capabilities — she responds by giving me a look that almost makes me think she regrets accepting my proposal of marriage thirty-seven years ago.

I helpfully offer to demonstrate how to make more efficient use of her device, but she won’t have any of it: she prefers to enter search terms or requests for directions one letter at a time, swearing incessantly as she frequently starts over since she is usually trying to do this as we are lurching along in the car.

Recently, we started feeling peckish in the midst of a day spent running errands. Carol recalled an acquaintance had recommended a restaurant in the area and asked if I was interested in trying it out. I said that sounded good to me, suggesting Carol use her phone to find directions to the establishment since I was focused on driving the car. Carol readily agreed to take on this task, requiring my assistance only to help her:

  • Search for the name of the restaurant
  • View an online version of the restaurant’s lunch menu
  • Check for a route to the restaurant that would avoid getting back on the highway
  • Adjust the phone’s volume so we could actually hear the directions the phone provided us
  • Resume scrolling through Facebook posts while still listening to the directions

Carol will be sitting on the couch, phone in hand — and ask me if I know what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow. Or, with phone in hand while watching an old TV program — ask me if the famous guest star is still alive. Or, with phone in hand while in the kitchen — ask if she can substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in a recipe. My response is always this: “If only you had access to a portable device that gave you access to all the information in the world, right at your fingertips.”

My concern is that, after one of these exchanges, she will then ask me what are the signs of a concussion, and while in the midst of providing my *helpful* reply I will be unaware that her phone is flying toward my head.

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