I couldn’t drive in any carpool lanes on my trip to Lake Arrowhead. But, I wasn’t entirely alone in the car on the drive to and from my writing retreat. There was a presence that I relied on; the omniscient voice from my phone guiding me as I navigated the approximately 180-mile-roundtrip journey.
In our family, I’m always the designated driver. So, I wasn’t intimidated by the two-hour-drive from our home in Los Angeles to the writing retreat in Lake Arrowhead. I was, though, slightly intimated by the fact that I wasn’t entirely certain where I was going.
On our other drives, my husband always serves as the navigator. He reads me the directions off the map and lets me know when I’m going to need to merge left for the upcoming freeway change. On this trip, I’d be alone. I couldn’t very well look down at a printed set of directions while I was driving 65 mph on the freeway.
Thanks to my iPhone, a little computer voice served as my navigator. When she spoke, I turned off my CD, so that I could give her my full attention. I thanked her when she reminded me that I’d need to merge to the right. When she told me a turn was coming up in a quarter-mile, I told her I’d keep an eye out for it.
And as I navigated the steep climb up the mountain, I spoke to this little voice. “When will this be over?” I asked. I channeled my six-year-old son and asked, “When we will be there?” I knew she wouldn’t answer me, but it didn’t stop me from asking.
This voice on my phone, more a mini-computer than a phone, is beyond my comprehension. Somehow this voice knew where I was at all times and could re-calculate my route if I dared to stray from her directions. All that technology, all that power, in a device that fits in my pocket is just more than I can understand. I do not take for granted the strides that have been made in computer technology nor do I think I will ever become blase about things like the internet or navigational systems.
This voice guided me, while giving me a boost of confidence and the illusion of companionship. And while this voice certainly doesn’t replace the welcome companionship of my family on long car drives, this voice did help me realize that I am ready for more solo trips -- with me driving and the little voice on my phone navigating.