Dec 12, 2007

Can You Find Me Now?

I had been meaning to visit a very well known gift store called Barber Brothers in Natick, MA for quite a while now. The store is a little too far away to visit during my lunch hour and I have been told that there is so much to see that I couldn't possibly experience it all in an hour.

I required directions to the store so I clicked the link on the bottom of their website which took me to Yahoo Local Maps. I entered my work address and printed out the directions. And this is where the fun began for me tonight.

I easily travelled Route 9 East as the directions instructed, took a left onto Gormon Road and then looked for a right onto Grant Street. Problem was it wasn't there. I ended up in a residential neighborhood with one way streets without any indication that I was even close to where I needed to be. I made my way back onto Route 126 and tried again reasoning that my eye sight isn't so good in the dark and maybe (just maybe) I had missed an obvious turn. No such luck.

I began wishing that I had one of those GPS systems in my Mazda. Then it dawned on me that my Motorola cell phone had a program I could download called VZ Navigator which might just be able to get me out of this pickle I found myself in. I recalled my sister-in-law Katie using it once while visiting Boston with her mom. She was going to sign up for a $9.99/month subscription, but instead gave the service a test drive by using it just once for $2.99.

I did the very same thing and the service worked beautifully. I simply typed in my destination "215 Central Street Natick, MA" and immediately the GPS feature that I enabled in the settings of my phone identified my live position and was ready to give me turn by turn directions using the optional speaker phone.

I secured my cell phone onto the special magnet mounted to the dashboard and off I went. The lady's voice told me to take turns (both right and left) in plenty of time to execute. I was able to visually follow along on the screen of the phone to see both a map and arrows and see my progress toward my final destination. The navigator service worked so well that I ended up in Wellesley!

Ummm. But wait. Didn't I tell you the gift shop was Natick?

I swear I did everything the phone told me to do and yet I still kept finding myself being routed into Wellesley. It just couldn't be right. I drove on stubbornly determined that I just had to be so close to Barber Brothers because I was driving on Central Street and the area was very populated with lots of downtown shopping. Barber Brothers just had to be here!

After obvious frustration, I finally pulled over and looked at my printed directions hoping to see some blatant mistake. Perhaps I typed in the wrong street number? Maybe it's really located in Wellesley and not in Natick as I had erroneously assumed.

Then I saw as clear as day where I went wrong. I typed into the phone "215 Central Street" when in fact, I should have entered in "215 West Central Street". Well, duh! It's bad enough I'm not so good with knowing my left from my right, but I can't blame the VZ Navigator for doing what it was supposed to do. Garbage in, Garbage out.

With a deep sigh, I reset the destination and the trusty Verizon network found my confused sorry ass sitting in a parking lot in Wellesley and pleasantly told me to "...take the next legal U-Turn." (It would have been OK if the woman's sweetly toned voice actually said, "...take the next legal U-Turn...Dumb Ass!)

So off I went finally heading in the right direction. In triumph I glided into the Barber Brothers parking lot nearly five miles away from where I thought I needed to be. I entered the store pretty pleased with both my determination in finding the infamous gift shop and my excitement about a new feature in my cell phone. There were many folks shopping and strolling through the aisles, but I bet they didn't appreciate being there as much as me.

I'm sorry to say that after my misadventure tonight, Barber Brothers was anti-climatic. Don't misunderstand-it was a beautiful store. But I was in the need for non-specific eclectic Christmas gifts and I just didn't find what I didn't know I was looking for.

However, I am not disappointed. I'm glad the whole thing happened tonight after work because now I know that if ever I get lost driving to some place new and exciting, all I have to do is pay $2.99 and I can find my way back home again. That's money well spent in my book.

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