I don’t claim to know anything about the complexities of Global Positioning Systems. But, considering it was developed by the US Department of Defense, I would expect it to be capable of accuracy to within a hair on a gnat’s posterior. But, of course, what most of us commonly refer to as “my GPS,” isn’t actually THE Global Positioning System, but the navigational device, and the mapping software created to utilize it for navigation. Whether it’s a feature in the dash of your new vehicle, an app on your phone, or a stand-alone device made by a company like Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance, you are still at the mercy of the accuracy of the mapping software you are using. Because the GPS satellites don’t tell you where you are, at all. As GPS.gov explains, the satellites simply send out their location in space. It’s up to your navigation device to determine your location based on those reference points provided by the satellites. And I don’t know about you, but latitude and longitude readings would be perfectly meaningless to me. What do I care how many degrees I am north-south and east-west on Earth, if I have no idea how to get home from wherever I am? And that’s where the mapping software comes in.

Let me just say that, were the GPS lady from Mapquest in my passenger seat Thursday, I’d have had to pull over, and there’d have been some %#&@ kickin’ goin’ on. And, had the GPS lady from Apple’s Maps been in my backseat, after I was through with Lady #1, Lady #2 would have been like a naughty kid scramblin’ across the seat, try’n to avoid the smack down. Because it would…have…been…ON!

Someone from the Twin Cities, Omaha/Council Bluffs, Quad Cities, or any other metro area (I just happen to be in the Midwest) that spans a major river would probably have had this experience at least once when visiting a new place “on the other side of the river” from their driving comfort zones. I was in a city on one side of the river. I needed to get to a place in the same city, on the same side of the river. But, being unfamiliar with that side of the river, I entered my desired destination, and headed off. But, then I saw the river, and crossed it. I thought, ok, maybe this stretch of highway curves around and cuts back across the river again. That didn’t make sense, but what did I know? Before I knew it, I was deep in traffic in the city on the wrong side of the river, and it was painfully clear that something had gone wrong with my navigation. I pulled over and checked the route I had entered. I had entered it correctly, but somehow, MapQuest had changed the state on the destination, and there I was. Twenty minutes wasted.

Plenty of time before my appointment, I said, ok, maybe it’s a MapQuest problem. I opened my iPhone’s Maps app, and entered the route again, carefully checking the address. I hadn’t gone more than a few blocks before it was clear that I was being taken in a loop and driven back in the wrong direction. again. I commenced a profanity-laden tirade directed at the Maps lady like never before. I became convinced that the government had shutdown the GPS system, as well as itself, just to screw with my life. I have to say, nothing will take migraine pain from a 6 on a scale of 1-10, to a 9 faster than impotent rage at the gargantuan monstrosity that is the United States Government. The last time I sat on hold with the IRS…no joke…

I eventually made it to my intended destination. Third time was the charm. Thank goodness I had another twenty minutes to de-stress, because I was able to bring my migraine pain back down to a reasonable level. Before the GPS ladies’ psychological assault (for a haircut, Friendly Reader), I had been to Dr. Chiro again, and he had once again done great work, actually reducing the high pain in which I’d spent the last several days. I was oh so grateful! Afterward, I was hoping not to have completely ruined my nice and straight, fluid-motion spine.

I wonder if the good Dr considers reworking his hour-old work an emergency visit. Meh…probably not.

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