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I had to work last Saturday at my office downtown. There was a pressing matter that I needed to take care of and I really didn’t mind doing it because I had some last minute shopping to do for my New Years Eve outfit as it was. The plan was to work from about 9:00 a.m. to a little after 1:00 p.m. and meet a friend at Forever 21 to get what I needed.
First of all, Forever 21 has a men’s department that is somewhat respectable if you’re looking for a basic item like a white turtleneck or a long sleeve t-shirt to pair with a blazer. Secondly, Forever 21 on Michigan Avenue is relatively close to my office.
I figured I could scoot over to meet my friend, grab a turtleneck and then get home to watch football. What I ended up doing was failing to meet my friend at said Forever 21 because she happened to be at a Forever 21 that I did not know existed in another part of the city.
Google Maps only showed me the Forever 21 on Michigan Avenue, and so even when my friend texted me telling me to go to this other store on State Street, I shrugged it off thinking that she must be mistaken. She even looked me up on Snap Maps as I was in an Uber headed to the Michigan Avenue location and said, “I’m pretty sure you’re going the wrong way.”
To this, I merely responded, “I think you’re stoned out of your gourd right now. Relax, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
This all ended with her being extremely upset with yours truly. I called her while we were in separate Forever 21’s and said, “Eh, these things happen. Mistakes were made.” She said, “This is why you need to learn fucking street names. I’m not even mad – I’m just really fucking annoyed.”
But this is the price of doing business as with a 21st-century ignoramus like myself. As soon as someone begins telling me how to get somewhere my eyes gloss over. I say things silently in my head like, “Just give me the address so I can punch it into Google Maps, you idiot,” and “I have no earthly idea which way east is and which way west is.”
I love when people try to tell me where to go like I’m traveling the high seas in a goddamn pirate ship.
“Well you head east on Damen for about a quarter of a mile and then head south on Halsted for blah blah blah.”
Like, seriously, just give me the address.
People who live in Chicago and other cities with grid systems love to ask where a certain restaurant you’re talking to them about is in relation to their apartment. They revel in knowing all of the street names in their respective neighborhoods and how to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner. I respect this level of pride that people take in their cities, but in this day and age it is completely and one hundred percent unnecessary.
I rely exclusively on Google Maps to get me where I need to go. Walking 0.9 miles to a bar that I’ve never been to? I’m punching the location of that sucker into Google Maps. Going to a friends housewarming party at their new place? They almost certainly have already given me directions in person, but I definitely wasn’t listening to the directions and I am definitely going to, once again, go to Google Maps.
Street names, cardinal directions, and how many half or quarter miles I have to travel before I reach a certain road that I need to turn onto – all of this information goes in one ear and out the other when it’s being given to me by a human.Google Maps is a lifeline to the outside world for me.
And yeah it’s bitten me in the ass a few times before. Sometimes my Google Maps app is inexplicably down or my phone is close to dying and then I have no idea where to go. But taking the time to learn street names? Na, I’m good. My system works like 95% of the time. The other 5% is gravy as far I’m concerned.
I can almost always rely on someone else to bail me out of situations where I can’t, for whatever reason, get Google Maps to start working. That’s just the millennial in me relying on others to make everything okay. .
Image via Unsplash