blind faith

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after we’d finally arrived

Call me old fashioned, but a telephone for me, is still a miracle, even when I’m only using it to talk to one of my friends who lives two blocks away. But the rest of the world has gone on to bigger and greater things. Not so long ago, my grand daughter was visiting. She had just come out of the shower, and lifted the receiver off my rotary dial phone in the kitchen, and asked me how to adjust it to a medium warm blow. She’d never seen a phone like that, and thought it was a hair dryer.

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Rivka and Chana in the kitchen

And so, last week, when Rivka and I were over at Chana’s house, preparing dinner, I proudly told them of my success at sending a letter by way of telephone. They immediately began to encourage me. I was told of the wonders of using Waze. One could just jot down the destination in the program, and Waze would know the best and fastest way to get there. Rivka told me of a recent incident that happened on her way home from her Yoga class. She had her Waze on, and was taking the route she knew well. The fellow on the phone told her to take a right down some side street, but she ignored him, thinking she knew which way was fastest. But then a couple of blocks later, she got stuck in a terrible traffic jam. There’d been an accident. Cars were packed in for about a kilometer, as one by one, individual vehicles managed to pass the standing police cars and ambulance at the site. If only she had listened to the Waze, she said.

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Noga and Michael

Well, it was on Monday of this week, that Noga and I had arranged to visit my friend Michael, who lives in the little village of Vineyard, at the edge of Jerusalem. He lives on Yemenite Immigrants Street; I forget the number. It was raining, when we set out in the afternoon, and the entire city was one big parking lot, as it often is at the beginning of the rainy season. Cars were crawling along… moving a meter forward, and then having to wait a few minutes until the next opportunity to move again. Though I’ve driven to Vineyard so often, I could probably do it in my sleep, it did seem like these were just the circumstances in which to try out the wonderful new invention. I typed Yemenite Immigrants and Vineyard into the Waze program, and settled into the driver’s seat, happy in anticipation of finding the shortest route through the traffic, on our way to my friend’s house.

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telling our adventure to Michael – photo by Noga

Since I hadn’t yet hooked up my phone to the car, and didn’t know that blue tooth was anything but a tooth that had died and discolored, I asked Noga to hold the phone and just pass on the instructions to me. From the very beginning, I could appreciate the advantages of the program. Instead of the usual situation in which a friend suddenly yells ‘take a right now’ or ‘turn left’, forcing me to cross a lane in the last moment to execute the maneuver, this program gave me warning 800 meters before I had to make the turn. It even advised me ahead of time to switch from one lane to another. I was happy to have joined the world of the enlightened.

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Strangely enough, though, I was getting instructions that I would never have thought possible. With a surety that only a robot could muster, the GPS program had me go left when I thought right, and into a neighborhood I thought totally illogical. But I remembered what Rivka had told me. How clever, the program was helping me to avoid an accident scene. We were going to get there much faster than we would have, had we gone the old route.

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And then amazingly, we were out of the traffic jam, and down an old road I didn’t even recognize. It was a little narrow, and when a car came the other way, we had to pass one another carefully, with one car or the other going slightly off the road, it was so narrow. But I was ecstatic. Wasn’t it great that Waze had found the way to avoid all the traffic?! The phone told us to go left when we reached the fork in the road. It got dark. The rain kept coming down. Then there was a turn to the right which put us on a road that was even worse. There were no street lights here. We were driving through the Jerusalem forest, And when we left the forest, the pavement gave out. It had been supplanted by gravel. ‘Maybe we should go back’, said Noga, a bit aghast at our surroundings. But I insisted. What? You want to get back into the traffic jam in town?

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photo by Noga

After the next right, I could tell by the limited light of my headlamps, that we were now on a dirt road with large rocks here and there, and holes where you didn’t expect them. From the speed of a horse’s pace I slowed down to what might best be called a walk. Fortunately, we were no longer encountering any cars coming the opposite way. But finally, after hopping over the rocks and trying to avoid the holes, we encountered a large sign. It was so dark I couldn’t see what it said. But I got out my flashlight, and put its light on the sign. It said, ‘graveyard’. A couple of letters were weather worn, but it was still readable. The Waze was no longer speaking to us. Noga thought we might have gotten to an area where there was no cell phone reception. So we kept going straight. But soon we were facing another fork in the road. Except that this time, it looked as if both choices in front of us were foot paths. I turned the car around, and that’s when the right rear tire blew. Luckily, I had a spare.

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I was ready to go back by then. But the problem was that I didn’t know where in the hell I was. As we slowly made our way back, we checked any signs we could find. It was then that we discovered the intersection of Vineyard street and the Yemenite Immigration. And it turned out that we were in the backwoods town of Olive Tree. I would never have guessed that. But fortunately, the town of Vineyard was only an hour away. Hope you enjoy the pictures of Michael’s home. On our way back to Jerusalem, we decided to go without the help of artificial intelligence.

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75 responses to “blind faith

  1. Artificial intelligence….you never know where it will take you. Whew! Glad you were able to get back on the correct road, though. Be careful out there.

    • Well sometimes, artificial intelligence is better than no intelligence at all. As we get more and more intelligent tools, it’s a challenge for ourselves as well. I was trying to show the humorous side of what happened to me, but not sure that everyone saw that. The mistake was mine. I should have first put the finger on the village. It didn’t occur to me that the same name would be a street in another village. Thanks for the comment, Loisa.

  2. I stopped driving 21 yeas ago when I returned from the states to the UK, and so it’s only once in a great while that I find myself as passenger in a car with ‘artificial intelligence’ and for the most part I have to say, I don’t think it works very well at all…..and certainly the account of your journey confirms that:)
    Wonderful story, and lovely photographs…so good to see Rivka, Chana, Noga and Michael along with a small glimpse of you.
    Big hugs for Nechama and hope you enjoy a lovely weekend. xx

    • I’m reaching the point, Janet, where I wonder whether driving is really worth it. It’s a lot of bother. And inside the city, I really prefer public transportation. Of course, it’s nice to have the means to go out in the country for a while. Actually the navigator works very well. I just hadn’t gotten used to it yet (don’t think I’ll be using it that much), and confused the issue between streets and village. I thought I’d share it as a funny experience. But I feel that most of my readers didn’t find it all that funny. Thanks, Janet. xxx

  3. What an adventure…if you want to call it that. I too have been told a few untruths by Waze, and do not completely trust it any longer. I have had it tell me to take a left NOW, when I’m on a mountain pass freeway with no left in sight anytime soon. Waze has an impish sense of humor I think. Glad you made it safe and sound.

    • It wasn’t actually reading me astray. It’s just that I didn’t specify the village in question, and the instrument thought I was referring to a street by the same name. But fortunately, it all ended well. Thanks for the comment, Angeline.

  4. Sorry to hear of your misadventure (especially that flat tire part of the story), but glad you finally made your way there. My sister hails the superiority of her phone’s location-finding capabilities, and now she has one of those cars with the locating device built into the dashboard. I was riding as a passenger once and she got rather frustrated with me because I couldn’t see well enough (or understand well enough) how to punch in the information so the car could tell us where to go. I was bold enough to mention that I still carry an atlas, as well as a local street map, and that I’ve even been known to pull over and ask for directions. She looked at me like I was some sort of strange anomaly; a bizarre oddity, as if she felt sorry for me. I didn’t dare tell her that I felt the same way about her (depending on a digital device to steer her in the right direction). 🙂

    I do my best to embrace new technology, but truthfully, I’ve never been willing to test the limits of my own location-finding program in my phone, so I give you extra points for at least being willing to give it a try. Ah, if nothing else, it gave you a good story to tell. 🙂

    • What is life, but a series of misadventures, interrupted by an occasional high, Nancy. In retrospect, I thought it would make for a funny story, but I’m afraid that the negative aspects of the story came through stronger that the humor. I haven’t really gotten used to this new instrument. I think I’ll probably stick to the old ways for the most part. But I do appreciate it when others are using it. It was a rather intensive experience while it was happening, though.

      • Several times, especially of late, you’ve mentioned that your intention was to impart humor, but that you felt the humor didn’t come through. Consider that it may be that sometimes humans, merely by our nature, seize on the negative, and thereby, we miss some of the fun in life. Sometimes, also, I think when we tell a story, we set out to highlight the humor, but if we are still struggling to allow our hearts to be lightened and merry, our words end up revealing more than we might have intended. It’s been a rough spell for quite a while; I’m amazed that you are able to speak at all, much less share a clever antidote with your readers.

        The story you told was humorous, but for me, at least, it brought to mind the last time I was truly and properly lost, and how inconvenient that can be, especially when on your way to meet up with a friend. Anxiety, confusion, misdirection and lost time, and then eventually recovery of your orientation and direction, all of which subtracted some of the time that you might have spent enjoying the company of your friend. Of course, all was not lost. You did manage to get there, and the evening sounds like it ended on a good note.

        Recently I wrote about irony. My guess is that you had your own moment of irony, when you realized the navigation device has misinterpreted your directions, and confused a street intersection with a same-named village. But hey, you missed the traffic. 🙂

        • Actually, Nancy, you’re right… about my going through a rough time lately. But in this case, though I made a mistake, and it got me into a rather unpleasant situation which I didn’t enjoy… once I was out of it and looking back, I found it amusing. I laughed with all the air in my lungs. But I think that because of cultural differences between myself and many of my readers, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding. Though I’ve learned the language well, I still am part of a very different culture. In this case, I thought what had happened was just plain funny. But people in sophisticated society find it in bad taste to laugh at the misfortune of others. And so my story provoked sympathy, when I was hoping just to get laughs. At the same time, I was also trying to say something serious. Which was that it is not enough to know how to start a process. We have to know everything about the process before we press the button, or we’re going to get into trouble. And I thought the combination of the two; the lesson and the laughs, would get to the heart of the matter. And yes, irony is a delicious ingredient… as long as we don’t fill our plate with it. I do appreciate your comments.

          • I realize we don’t truly know one another, and have never even sat down together to share a meal, (or commiserate over a strong whiskey while the smoke fills the air around us), but sometimes, in-between what you are sharing, I get a hint of something amiss. I’m sorry to hear it’s been a rough patch for you lately. You’ve become someone that matters to me, so I do hope that sunnier days are ahead for you, or at the very least, that you manage to find ways to keep the sorrows away. Thanks again for sharing your (mis)adventure with us, including the lesson therein. 🙂

  5. I have never even heard of Waze. You were very brave to give it a try. I’m so glad you were able to find your way back to familiar surroundings. That can be a scary experience.

    • It’s a GPS navigational device that works very well when you know how to use it. I didn’t, and so confused the instrument with a name that is also the name of a village and the name of a street in another village. It was a bit of a pain while it was happening, but it was a very pleasurable visit in the end. Thanks, Melissa, for your comment.

  6. Oh I hate this sort of thing happening – when you find yourself completely without the means to orientate yourself. So glad it turned all right in the end though, Shimon.

    • Yes. It did turn out well in the end, Tish. And the mistake was mine and not that of the instrument. There was a little confusion there of street names, and the name of the village in question. Though I do think that the more we rely on magic, the more dangerous it gets. This story was sort of an updated sorcerer’s apprentice. I knew how to start the magic, but not how to control it. Thanks for the comment.

      • I like the notion of Shimon the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

      • Love the imagery of “not being able to control the magic”. I feel that way often when I am using the voice feature on my phone. I know it is there to make things easier for me, but because I tend to rush along without pausing for punctuation, (or forget to enunciate clearly), then I end up with something that doesn’t resemble what I intended to say. Harnessing the magic of our technology is a challenge. 🙂

  7. What a story! I too regard some of the modern technology as magic. But I am still a little wary about some of it. I check Mapquest for directions ahead of time, and haven’t invested in a Global Positioning System yet, although most people I know have them in their cars or on their Smart Phones (which I haven’t invested in yet). I read a newspaper story a couple years ago about a couple who were following the directions of their GPS (the American version of WAZE) and didn’t realize it was taking them onto an unfinished stretch of freeway. Putting their trust in the GPS rather than the signage, they drove right off the abrupt end of the road, plummeting to their deaths on the concrete below.
    Wishing you pleasant journeys and always a safe trip home, Shimon!

    • Basically, Naomi, this story was meant to be a modern day variation on the sorcerer’s apprentice. In this age of hi-tech, almost everyone incorporates a lot of new inventions and devices into his or her day to day life style every year. Even those of us who are not so eager to try out new things, will find the computer integrated into their automobile, or home conveniences. And probably it is very common for people to start using some of these devices without completely understanding them, I have heard from a number of friends that they bought a new phone without having discovered all of the things that the old phone could do for them. My intention was to make the post amusing too, because I thought there was something very funny about it. But what I didn’t realize, was that it is considered bad taste to laugh at another’s misfortune. And so instead of hearing rolling laughter, I heard quite a bit of sympathy. That’s all right too. But it has taught me something about story telling. Thanks so much for the comment.

  8. It can be confusing and scary when you don’t know where you are. Glad you find you way back. We normally check the Google map before we take our trip and turn on our gps. Have a great weekend, Mr. Shimon.

    • Thanks very much Amy. You’re so right. It’s unnerving, when we lose our orientation. But fortunately, this story concluded with a happy ending. And now I have to become more acquainted with the subtleties of operating the GPS system.

  9. One of the funniest stories I’ve ever read and the interesting photos added to the effect.It really amused me so much that I burst out laughing as it progressed.I am a map addict… but as someone said
    The Map is not the Territory… and it’s in the territory that we live.
    You seem to have escaped remarkably well judging by your smiling face…
    Sat Nav here often directs large container lorries through small villages and across fords in swollen rivers.. and people are so ignorant of maps they have no idea where they are.
    I think you were a genius to extricate yourself from the Big Bad Wood and get to your destination.Naturally you emailed them from your smartphone to explain the delay.:)

    • Thank you very much Katherine Anne. I think you were one of the very few who really understood my intention in telling this story. In this age of political correctness, when we hear of someone suffering in any way, our conditioned response is to show sympathy. You might want to check out what I wrote to Naomi up above. I had hoped that people would be laughing as I wrote this piece. But to my surprise, instead of laughs, I got sympathy.

  10. There are a lot of gadgets– my problem is figuring out how to use them and often find the time spent I could have accomplished the task the old -fashioned way!

    • Yes, I think a lot of people see the new technology in that way, Lisa. But fortunately or unfortunately, we really don’t have that much choice about it. Just as those who loved the horse and buggy about 100 years ago eventually had to adapt to the motor vehicle, our children and grandchildren won’t be able to imagine the world we come from. Everything is changing faster and faster. And our job, it seems, is to grin and bear it.

  11. When I first came to America, after a few times in the car with my family’s sponsor, I asked my father how did the car know where we wanted to go for it to tell us where to go. He asked me what I meant. “The left arrow blinked and we turned left, the right blinked and we turned right- how did the car know our destination?” Needless to say, I amused the adults greatly that day. Eventually we were on our own. My father had a terrible sense of direction. Everywhere we went we got lost. My sisters and I used to suffer horribly from carsickness. How we wished what I had thought was magic were true, a device to lead us to our destination so we don’t get lost. – Wishes do come true! Now my sisters and I live many miles apart. We wish someday we can press a button and be instantaneously together.

    • I appreciate your story very much, Hong Nhien. I remember reading quite a bit of science fiction in the 50s of the last century. And there was one story that made a very powerful impression on me, in which people used tele-portation to meet with friends who lived in different places. I remember thinking it was a wonderful idea. And at the time I imagined the use of a hologram that would give the effect of meeting despite the geographic distance. But much the same thing has come to pass in the affairs of human beings with the electronic mail, chat, skype and other functions of the contemporary phone. People do get together and carry on discussions… just as we here do, thanks to the magic of the digital technology. Thanks so much for your comment.

  12. Such an entertaining story, Shimon, especially since it ended well. I found many smiles along the journey of pot holes, road rocks and deadends described…blown tire being the execption. Enjoyed the ‘hair dryer’ experience, too. Thank you for sharing. I have the American versions of WAZE both on my iPhone and built into the dashboard of my car. I rarely use either after the car program attempted to take me along a route that might have been shorter, but was on a winding and (I already knew) dangerous road. I chose another route I knew about – longer in distance, but much safer. Actually, I prefer an old-fashioned map (though I do use the phone map app fairly often). I suspect that while new and evolving techonology is wonderful (and it is), some of the old ways can be useful, too. Common sense never goes out of style, and while using the newer gadgets, one might proceed by trusting, but not too much. Blessings.

    • Thanks so much Myra, for catching on to my original intention when telling this story. I thought it humorous. But didn’t take into account the empathy and consideration of my readers. And so, instead of laughs, I got sympathy. You might want to check out my comment to Naomi above. I agree, the old ways are often good. But the world is changing by the minute. And it seems to me best that we learn to adapt.

  13. Ahhh Shimon, blessed technology… I don’thave a GPS, I use maps… and my phone doesn’t have a touch screen, I find it hard to see the keys when I write text messages (I use 4 times as long as necessary)… my old canon EOS (with roll of film) are expensive to develop…
    But I enjoy making a mockery of the time advancing and its technologies… and that moves away from my skills in this area 😉 (I’m a vey disaster)
    Hugs and peaceful weekend Claudine

    • Dear Claudine, I have to admit that I don’t usually use GPS, nor do I have a touch screen. I am trying to resists some of the fast moving changes. But I do believe that is the direction for all of the world. And it is just a matter of time till we’ll be forced to adapt to the radical changes that will probably make our world completely different in another generation. I do think that for the most part, it’s good. I just have a hard time adjusting.

  14. Very cute! I actually wonder why it did you wrong. I recently spent a week in Phoenix AZ and used my cell phone for everything. After experiencing hellish expensive taxi fees, I rented a car and Siri (our version of Maze I suspect) sure knew where I was all the time. I do have to tell you that now one can use their credit card for a taxi ride…and BEFORE it will accept your card, you MUST enter the tip…offered at 15, 20, and 25 Percent of the fee. I still think that should be illegal.
    Enjoyable to see the pix of Michaels house. I experience the AWE of technology literally daily.

    • What happened Bob, was that I confused the instrument, by referring to two names, both of which were names of streets close to Jerusalem, and one of them was also the name of a village close by. The mistake was definitely mine. But because I had such faith in the contraption, I kept following it, even when it was obviously going the wrong way. Fortunately, the story had a happy ending. And I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures from Michael’s home. And I agree with you. We are all going through rapid changes, as the world changes around us.

  15. I looooved the pic of you and Michael … my brother’s name was Micael … can souls heal ? … maybe … Love you, Shimon … cat.

    • You ask a very difficult question, my dear cat. I do believe that souls can heal… but the suffering we go through, can leave a lot of scars. With love to you too, Shimon

  16. Lovely pictures. A homey place to land after your MISadventure. 🙂 I’m following a blogger touring Europe by camper, and their device has given them similar directions, taking them the scenic route. The first time I was in the car with one, my friend and I were looking for someplace to eat lunch, and the silly device directed us to an open field. If we were horses, it would have been delicious I’m sure. Glad you made it in one piece, if a bit worse for wear. 🙂

    • Yes Judy, it takes a little getting used to, dealing with some of the fantastic inventions that have become a part of our world. Maybe the time you were with a friend, looking for a place to eat, the device thought that you had packed a picnic. In my case, it was a misunderstanding as well. I thought it was rather humorous, and it did have a happy ending. Now I’ll learn how to use it properly. Thanks for the comment.

  17. I enjoyed the imagery of a phone as a hair dryer – and laughed gently at the irony of our ‘evolution’. I am not a fan of programs offering me better directions, for I resigned myself years ago to being geographically challenged regardless of the assistance of maps, computers and electronic voices giving me step-by-step instructions that I can never seem to follow. I love your experiences Shimon, how they all return to the comfort and surety of family and friends.

    • Glad you had a laugh, Mimi. That was my intention. Though not everyone realized it. And I think these GPS devices are specifically made for those who have trouble finding their way in strange territory. We just have to learn how to use the device better, before we try to employ it. Thanks so much for your comment.

  18. I had to laugh at your granddaughter calling the phone a hairdryer, that reminds me of the time when my daughter asked me what the round black shiny things were, I explained that they were records.
    Oh my, what an exciting journey albeit it an unexpected one!!! I can just imagine it, I would have been having kittens and squawking in the back to turn around!!! I am so glad you had a spare and that you didn’t get too lost. The gathering afterwards looks like it more than made up for the hassle….
    Once when I was visiting my dad in rural Wales I took a diversion as there were roadworks, it was dark and just daughter and I who was very young. The route took me up and over a mountain, it was terrifying, the road was only wide enough for one car and had a high wall either side of it…eventually I could go no further as a cow was blocking the road forcing me to reverse all the way down again…..memorable it was! Modern technology eh…..I did enjoy this!xxx

    • Actually, it was an unpleasant experience while I was going through it, Dina. But the next day. looking at the incident from safety, I realized that the whole story was a little like an updated version of the sorcerer’s apprentice. I had made the mistake, inserting information into the GPS device, not realizing that the name of the village was also the name of a street. And it occurred to me that this was probably happening to a lot of people as we tried to adapt to the new inventions that are changing our lives and the world around us. So while I was lost, I did think I was somewhere else (hell). But after getting out of there, I was able to enjoy a happy ending to the story. And now I know I’m going to have to learn how to properly use some of these gadgets that surround me. So glad I gave you a laugh. xxx

  19. Oh, I loved this post, Shimon, and the wonderful photos…glad you finally connected with your friend and were able to enjoy one another’s company.

    I just use old-fashioned maps, and use traffic jams to enjoy public radio and scenery. In fact, I just turned my smart phone in for an old-fashioned flip phone this week…That said, I don’t live in an area nearly as populated as Jerusalem, where a traffic jam could really interfere with my schedule.

    I discovered that, for me, the abilities to use a “smart” phone for texting, Facebook, and the myriad apps, weren’t worth the cost. At all. Although, I concur that much of the latest technology is wonderful and helps life flow more smoothly. But it didn’t affect the preferred speed of my life much at all and, in fact, seemed absolutely silly at times. (I just saw an article touting the awesomeness of an app that would help know what clothes to wear each day…)

    I continue to try and find a reasonable and personal balance between technology and common sense. It’s very tricky these days. 🙂

    Thank you, again, for a wonderful post.

    • I admire your choice, Kitty, to live life as simply as possible. That is really my basic tendency as well. But as you say, living in the big city, it is harder to resist the changes going on. And aside from personal preference, I have no doubt that eventually, most of humanity will be living in a world very different from the one I grew up in. Change seems to be occurring at an ever increasing speed. One of the people commenting above, referred to it as evolution. And I do believe that it is part of the evolution of humanity. I remember that as a student, my teachers used to consider man most unique because of his tools. Even though there are other living creatures who do use simple tools. But we’re reaching the point where our tools are making tools. And progress is speeding up. For the most part, it is very good. It’s just a bit hard for some of the seniors (myself included), to adapt to all the changes. Thanks for the comment, and the smile.

  20. What a story… I am glad everything went fine at the end. I loved all the photographs and the house is so nice. Thank you dear Shimon. Have a nice day, love, nia

  21. What a chapter of adventures, not all of them pleasant! Oh well, I guess that you learned something useful … and the photos, as ever, tell their own story.

    • Thanks Gill. It wasn’t all that pleasant when it was happening. But afterwards, thinking about it, I found it amusing. And yes, there was something to be learned from the experience.

  22. blind faith indeed 🙂 We have had similar issues with our Navi system, more than once. These tools are good, but not infallable. Means we humans still have the edge.

    • I don’t know if these tools are infallible. I do have my reservations. But in this case, it was I who erred. A mistake caused by the fact that both a street and a village had the same name. I remember when humans used to play chess against the computer. In the beginning we thought that humans would always win. But that too, is no longer an issue. And there were races once, between horses and automobiles… I think we have no choice but to bless the inventions of man… and enjoy them. Thanks for the comment, Sula.

  23. Ah the wonders of Sat Nav as we call it over here in the UK. There have been many instances of heavy goods vehicles being sent down tiny lanes only to get completely stuck. I am still a luddite where navigation is concerned. I use a map. Sadly I need a map-reader. My wife is just not up to the mark. By the time she has changed her glasses – because the pair for viewing the road are different from the pair for viewing the map – we have passed the turning we were supposed to take.

    • Thanks for providing me with the name of the device in England. In my innocence, I thought it was called the same all over the world. I still use a map too. But I’m sure that eventually everyone will use these gadgets and they will be even better than they are now. And we will enter the necessary facts about the vehicle we’re driving, and our preference for paved roads, and soon it’ll be taken for granted. The world is changing so quickly, and I do believe it’s for the better in most cases. Thanks very much for the comment, Andy. How good it is to exchange thoughts with you across the seas… by way of an invention that once scared me too… the computer.

  24. What a great story! My husband and I have had a few ‘arguments’ with the GPS when it’s tried to take us down narrow roads (we travel in our motorhome) and often choose to switch ‘her’ off (woman’s voice). I love navigating and don’t like a robot taking over my brain. Having said that, it has come in very useful sometimes and we wouldn’t be without it now. I love the homely pictures you’ve shared: they are very natural.

    • I was just mentioning to Andy, in the comment above yours, that one day soon we will get to enter the details of the vehicle we’re driving, as well as our preferences for paved roads or not. This is just the beginning of the great changes to come, and there is no question that these inventions will be improved as time goes by. But in my case, I made the mistake, and recovered quite well. Glad you enjoyed the pictures of the evening, Fatima. It was the happy ending to my story, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience. Thanks for your comment.

  25. Oh dear, I did laugh, though not at your unfortunate misfortune with the GPS; with that aspect, you, now, me and lots of the world can empathise. On a more serious note, I am relieved that you did not stray into other difficult situations.

    The dial up telephone as a hairdryer was a superb bit of innocent lateral thinking. Designers get to work!!! There are so many different views on the world of everyday gadgets that we knew – it demonstrates our wisdom and seniority in life.

    The warm domestic pictures are a nice touch. x

    • I’m glad you laughed, Menhir. That was really my intention. There were a few difficult moments in that adventure, but looking back at what happened, I was laughing myself. And really, the mistake was mine, because the same name indicated both a street and a village. But I have learned from the experience, and I might start investing more time with the instruction manual of a new contraption, before I start using it. My dear friend Chana has recently bought a vacuum cleaner that is in fact a robot. You just turn it on, and leave it to its own devices, so to speak. We’ll see what sort of mischief it gets into.

      • I have seen robotic vacuum cleaners, the ones I have looked at are like a flying saucer. I have not pursued the interest as yet. I haven’t heard of any mischievous cleaner actions either. Do tell if you come across any.

        Kids at a local school were introduced to a floor level robotic shape – many years ago now – to make the visual learning of measurement and distance fun to do. It will have committed good visual images to memory as well. For the teachers who may have been schooled in Imperial Measure, it must have been a great teaching aid.

  26. I had a sense of where this might be going, and enjoyed the entire trip. The very fact that you were writing the tale meant that nothing truly terrible had happened, after all.

    I have used a GPS just once. I was searching for a country cemetery in the middle of Kansas. In truth, the device worked perfectly, with one exception. It hadn’t yet been alerted to the news that the primary bridge between me and my goal had been washed out by a flood.

    Lucky for me, a farmer came along, shook his head, and said, “Let me tell you how to get there, before you have another unpleasant surprise or two.” He drew a little map on the back of a napkin from a fast-food restaurant. A bit of backtracking, two farm lanes and some very nice looking cows later, I was where I needed to be.

    Local knowledge, sailors call it. The locals know how to avoid the rocks and shoals that haven’t been charted. Not only can they get you where you want to go, you often get a story or two as a bonus.

    • Yes, there is something wonderful about connecting to both local knowledge and the locals themselves. In this alienated age, there are a lot of people who would like to go from here to there down a shute… without any organic contact… For me, one of the pluses of travel, is meeting the cows, the gophers and the people along the way. When I’m on a freeway, I feel like to much life is slipping by me. So while there are some advantages to having a robotic mommy tell me exactly what to do, I still prefer local knowledge… and the locals. Thanks so much for your comment, shoreacres. I got lost along the way. That’s why it took me so long to answer this one.

  27. I do love your photos, and the way your stories saunter along through the photos, sometimes paying attention to them and sometimes disregarding them. What a gift!

    • What a sweet comment, bluebrightly. I’m the sort of guy who just went out to the outhouse for a minute… and then after a week, the family gets the neighbors together to search for him. You wrote these words last year… and I just sauntered by and read them… But I do appreciate your comment very much. It’s just I get lost so easily…

  28. I’m still laughing about the telephone/hairdryer! Your journey, however protracted, certainly found a conclusion in a happy relaxing time judging by the warmth in your lovely photos.

    • Yes, that particular trip had a happy end… but I should have listened to the trees, the birds, and the worn out signs, that were all sighing… watch out, fool… cause there were indications I was falling of the track. Thanks for your comment, Patti.

  29. I read every post that I have missed. You are the old Shimon again. Wonderful posts again. Beautiful photography again. That makes me happy! 🙂 Welcome back to your old self! Life will be good this year. I just know it!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, George. And I do hope this new year will get me back on track. Sometimes the burden gets too heavy and we have to start throwing things out of the backpack just to keep on going. My best wishes to you these days.

  30. What a hilarious story! Especially love the part about that “hairdryer.” Alex keeps trying to convince me to give up our landline, but I’m not budging—it works!! I can HEAR, exquisitely. (This is impossible with an iPhone.) Call me (not by cell!) a luddite, but there’s also a great deal to be said for using M.A.P. instead of relying 100% on GPS… you gain perspective, and an appreciation of where you are in the world. (Same goes for nautical charts, of course.) I will confess, however, that GPS can come in handy (well, ideally it should–it doesn’t know from graveyards!) in real-time traffic jams, yes… here’s how we do it, without having an actual GPS in the good ol’ Subaru (it’s that good-old!): When we see a jam and/or detour, we just follow a newer car. 🙂 Glad you found your way back, Shimon. Changing a tire, in the rain, in a graveyard… wait, isn’t there an app for that?!

    • Glad you enjoyed the humor in my account of the story, 2geeks. An old fellow like myself gets a kick out of seeing the mistakes of modern contraptions, so as to draw attention away from the fact that I forgot to zip up my fly. The truth is, that usually when one of these new-fangled devices don’t work, it’s usually the mistake of the operator. It’s like when they tell you at the bank that the computer made the mistake. Still, there’s always the problem of becoming dependent on anything… even a computer. I agree with you, knowing how to read a map is still an advantage. Thanks so much for your comment.

  31. Oh wow, what an adventure! I love it – I hope you weren’t too stressed at the time!

  32. What a lovely home and family …I enjoyed the photos and writing immensely ..xx

    • So glad to hear that you enjoyed the writing, Meg. I get so easily carried away, that it’s only now after a couple of months, that I’ve gone back to check out some of the comments. It’s a pleasure getting to know you, and reading some of your writing too.

  33. Wonderful storytelling, Shimon. I love the humor in it. Thank you for a good read.

    • Getting a comment from you, my dear yearstricken, is always a great joy for me… because I love your writing so much. And now that so much time has passed since the post was published, I hope I can say such a thing without embarrassing you terribly.

  34. Thanks for your humorous, yet aggravating, tale of GPS use. I have had similar experiences and to this day, it doesn’t know where I live. It never tells me “You have reached your destination” when I have arrived home. It wants me to continue down the road a piece. Keep writing!

    • Yes Bev, the story was written from a humorous point of view. But I think that when the robot does the wrong thing, it’s usually because we haven’t learned enough about how it works. In my case, it was clearly the problem of a beginner. But what was amazing, was that I kept listening to it, even when it was obvious that I was going in the wrong direction. Thanks so much for your comment.

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