Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oops, they did it again

[I copied this one from my blog on the Inked-In site.]

Imagine this. You're sitting in a living room in a quaint cottage on a winding country road in Wales. A crocheted blanket is draped over your lap and a steaming cup of Earl Grey sits on a lace doily on an antique table. You are reading a novel--perhaps a cozy mystery or a Regency romance. Suddenly, you feel a rumbling and you notice that your tea has broken out into little ripples. A low sound in the distance is growing louder by the second. Two bright lights shine through the windows and illuminate your Thomas Kinkade painting, which hangs above the crackling fire in the hearth. Just as you turn your head to see where they are coming from, a truck crashes into your house. Wow. Freaky, right?

Now imagine that this has happened to you 16 times.

As they say, life is stranger than fiction. This story, minus the cottage decorations, appeared in the Weird But True section of today's New York Post.

Apparently, a satellite navigation system is "telling drivers the extremely narrow street is a shortcut."

The woman who lives in the house says it has been stressful and traumatic and that her insurance premiums have gone sky high.

Hmmm. Is the practice of law legal in Wales? The first time this happened to me, I'd be on the phone with a lawyer trying to determine if it was the fault of the GPS manufacturer, the company who creates the software for the device, the trucking company, or the moron who was driving the truck who trusted a machine more than his eyes telling him there was a house blocking his path. Instead, this woman is paying a premium to live in a death trap, albeit a lovely death trap if only in my imagination.

After the second time it happens, perhaps a global recall is in order. Maybe even a giant billboard like in the cartoons: Turn Back Now!!! But sixteen times?! I can't imagine it. Perhaps my assumption that this woman hasn't taken any action has made an ass out of u and me. But even if she has, after 16 times, doesn't her stubborn insistence on staying put point to a possible death wish? Someone call the twinkie van, and have the men in white coats take her to a nice, relaxing place. She deserves it. Then put that baby on the market. Uh, ixnay on the Open House--maybe a direct sale to the Department of Highways would be safer.

The scary part is that this is not an isolated incident (I'm taking the 16 incidents as a whole here). I've heard other stories of people who have driven into swamps, bodies of water, ditches that obviously were not a road all because their GPS device told them to. The voice of a certain parent comes to mind: If the GPS device told you to jump off a bridge . . . . Apparently, we need a new driving designation. How about DWC--Driving While Comatose?

It's kind of like a sci-fi story: GPS device (played by HAL) subliminally brainwashes people into handing over all common sense and blindly following directions. Long haul trucker (played by William Shatner) boldly goes where no man has gone (more than 16 times) before.


Jo Ann T. said...

This story reminded me of my not so bright cousin who was robbed 3 times within a year before she finally decided maybe she should have an alarm system installed.

Dr. Tony said...

For those with a psychological bent, maybe remaining a victim has some appeal.