This isn’t exactly a true story, but it might as well be. I’m one of Planet Earth’s lost people. I budget an extra twenty minutes’ travel time whenever I drive somewhere I haven’t been before. That way, when I get lost – and it is a ‘when’, not an ‘if’ – I have time to freak out, stop, check a map, find my bearings again, and reach my destination on time. Usually. If human genetic engineering ever becomes ethically acceptable, we should create a person with the magnetic direction-finding abilities of a migratory bird, to spare future generations from the woes I have suffered. And Siri can’t be trusted. She gets a laugh out of sending us meatbags out to Woop-Woop. It’s her only source of entertainment as everybody’s electronic slave.
Whenever I hear a school principal recite Robert Frost’s ‘Road Not Taken’ – and don’t they always? – I find myself thinking about would have happened if the narrator had possessed my terrible sense of direction. So, with apologies to the folk poet, here is this week’s oh-noetry.
Blue roads diverged in Apple Maps
And knowing I could not travel both,
And be punctual, there I sat
And zoomed in, hating the useless app,
As I muttered a panicked oath.
The blue dot that was blinking there –
Apparently showing my location –
Was far off course, and I did despair.
It was absolutely @#$%ing nowhere
Remotely near my destination.
And both roads suddenly went away
As my phone screen died to black
With rising pulse, I groped for the Melway
In the hope that the crumpled manual may
Supply the homing instinct that I lack.
I’ll relate this with a roll of the eye
As my sisters tell me I’m absurd
Blue roads diverged in Maps, and I –
I took the one less travelled by
And ended up in bloody Heidelberg.