From an age before ubiquitous cell phones


My wife and I are frugal, which is a nice way to say that we are cheap. We follow our budget pretty closely and avoid purchasing things that we don’t strictly need; things like printer ink and smartphones. And that’s how we ended up reenacting a scene from a bygone era.

We were on our way to DeAnne’s company Christmas party. She had looked up directions to the party’s location on Google Maps, but decided not to print them out. Instead, she pulled a used junk mail envelope out of the trash and wrote down the directions on the back with a pen (probably one that we got free from our bank). Printer ink is expensive, so we only use it to print important things. Like coupons.

We had been to the conference center where the party was to be once before, and I remembered it as being pretty simple to find. I wasn’t sure which exit to take off the highway, so I was glad that DeAnne wrote down the directions.

“We got off the exit and turn left, correct?” I asked.

“Take Exit 49 and turn right,” she read from the envelope.

“Okay,” I said. “I guess I remembered it wrong.”

I have a horrible memory. As I drove, I kept looking for landmarks that I remembered, but nothing looked familiar. And so we followed the directions.

The thing is, Google Maps must have been feeling like a jerk when my wife wrote down the directions, because it did not send us the same way as before. Instead, the directions took us through town, turning every hundred feet or so, and bringing us to the conference center from the opposite direction than the previous year. It didn’t help that our handwritten directions seemed to be missing a step.

In fact, and this is the part that I’m sure almost never happens these days, I had to stop at a gas station to ask for directions. Yes. In an age where vehicles are equipped with GPS navigation and almost everyone owns a smart phone that could easily guide them to their destination, I had to stop at a gas station for directions.

The clerk at the gas station seemed genuinely surprised when I told her that I needed directions, but she gave them to me all the same. And I wrote those directions down on a clean space on our junk mail envelope with a borrowed pen.

And you know what?

We found the place. Sure, it took longer. And yes, it was frustrating because we were running late. But it was an adventure.

I’m sure that there’s a lesson to be learned from this experience.

Any ideas on what it is?


6 responses to “From an age before ubiquitous cell phones

  1. Check into Ting? We have been using Ting for 4 or 5 months now, and I think our bill has been $21 every month. For two lines. With smartphones. See Bob’s post here: Even if you don’t want a smartphone, Ting might save you money depending on what you are currently doing. It’s a postpaid, no contract cell service provider that uses the Sprint network.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s