Modern technology seems to encourage learned helplessness. The result can only be disaster. I know this from experience.
I have come to rely on my SatNav technology a little too much. It is too easy; punch in the postcode and away you go. Normally you arrive exactly as predicted by the device. But when things go wrong…
I had a gig last night about two and a half hours journey away. The SatNav took me on a route I was familiar with. On the way, I noticed signs on the motorway saying that it would be closed that evening. Not good, as it would inevitably mean some kind of delay as the traffic was directed through the diversion. Still, I might be able to find a way round with the Satnav.
On the return journey I just missed the window to get through on the motorway and was caught in the diverted flow of traffic. To my alarm, the diversion signs seemed to be sending me in the opposite direction of my destination. I did a u-turn when I could and trusted the SatNav to direct me out of the maze. Thus began a nightmare journey of many miles and many hours.
I realised I didn’t know where I was. I had an idea of where I should be and tried to navigate using that rough mental map along with the SatNav. This failed utterly as I found myself returning to the same bit of diverted motorway I had left not twenty minutes earlier. After much cursing I finally abandoned all hope in the SatNav and pulled over to refer to the old road atlas I still carried in the car.
It appeared I had travelled tens of miles in the opposite direction of where I needed to be and I needed to make a massive loop around a large city before I could get back on a course for home. This at a time when I had just paid £1.32p per litre of fuel.
The next day I decided to review the debacle and see what had gone wrong (I wasn’t going to let that expensive and painful experience go to waste).
I discovered the cause of my confusion. The SatNav decided to use a completely different route for the return leg of my journey. I assumed it would use the same route it had used to get me there as it is supposed to always choose the fastest route. Logic dictates that if you use the same roads going back it has to be the same travel time. SatNav’s obviously don’t use logic.
So now my rough mental map is conflicting with where I really am and when the diversion signs are telling me I’m heading South when I think I need to be North, I naturally start to doubt any information I am being given. Had I continued South on the diversion I would have eventually reached the connecting road the SatNav was originally trying to reach.
Ultimately, without the aid of old technology such as the printed road map I carried in the car, I would still be going round in circles on unfamiliar roads right now.
Always, always, always have a plan B.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any leaders having any kind of plan B (unless it is to save their own hide). We’re in the lazy phase of this posts’ title.