March 6, 2010 9:48:00 PM
"I once was lost
But now I''m found."
"Amazing Grace," by John Newton
I can get lost anywhere. I have no sense of direction.
I bought a GPS unit for my car a few months ago. I thought it would be a time saver, as I am forever taking wrong turns. I also liked the idea of having a nice young lady along to talk to me as I travel around the state (not really -- not that crazy, yet).
This past week I traveled up to Iuka. When I''m in a hurry, the four lanes are my savior; however, more often than not, I like to take the "long way."
One thing''s for certain about my GPS unit, it doesn''t share my affection for the back roads of Mississippi. Had my "make-believe-girlfriend" hidden deep inside that box said "when possible, make a legal U-turn" one more time this past week, I would have programmed a detour to the nearest garbage heap.
I''ve learned they can''t always be trusted. For instance, when I travel over to the Delta on 82, it will route me through downtown Kilmichael. I theorize that one of the mapping programmers has a brother-in-law who owns a gas station on Main Street there.
Speaking of gas stations, Fulton provides a good rest stop on the way to Iuka. I stopped in at the Sprint Mart. The calling card wasn''t the fact that it''s clean as a whistle; the gas was cheap, $2.45 a gallon. I topped off the tank and spent the money I''d saved inside on a Diet Coke.
When I walked in, everybody -- even the guys stocking shelves with nabs and the like -- said "hello" in unison. For a second I was Norm of "Cheers" fame. In the five or 10 minutes I spent there, they must have hailed 20 or more customers with a friendly "hello." I liked it.
On my trip back home after having such a nice experience earlier in the day, I stopped back by to top off my tank with the $2.45 a gallon gas, used the facilities and got a snack for a late lunch. As the nice lady counted my change, "That''s one, two ... " the door opened, a beep, a customer entered: "Hello! ... 25, 27 cents, thank you and come again."
I want you to know that at the Sprint Mart in Fulton, they''ve got "hellos" down.
Getting back, have you thought about all the possibilities of GPS units?
Walmart can program the coordinates of Tide detergent and, like they do over in Kilmichael, route you through Fine Jewelry and Electronics. No more worries finding someone at the picture show when the lights go out. A friend simply texts their coordinates over a cell phone and the GPS guides the other moviegoer right to his or her seat.
Sadly, these units will erase one more bit of Americana. Interesting exchanges between lost pilgrims and old folks rocking away on front porches will come to an end. Phrases like, "You go right down there ''bout a mile or two ''til you see ... " and, "Now, let me see ... " will be lost forever.
All in all, I''m pretty happy with my new toy; however, it does concern me that they have my address on the wrong side of the street. Sure hope I don''t have to dig out my old title insurance policy.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.