Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

PUBLIC VERSION
DELETED APO INFORMATION IS [BRACKETED]

I love technology. I also hate it. It is an evil enabler of my base self. Before you start wondering what I have been downloading, let me set the scene.

Today, I am in [the south, the deep south]. I am visiting [a great client] here in [a place I shall not disclose]. It is [south] and it is [rural]. I have been here almost 12 hours and I can't recall seeing a foreign car. Many of the towns around here are so small that the population [is in the two digits range]. [The client I am visiting] is in a town [requiring four digits to advertise its population]. The person who checked me into the hotel was proud of the fact that, since my last stay, they have added an elevator to this two-story building. I really don't care much about that. I am, however, very happy to report that they have also added free wireless broadband. She was also very proud to tell me that I am here just in time for the venerable [Local Crop] Festival.

Don't get me wrong. I am not looking down my urbane nose at [this town]. I like it here. The area is pretty and I like the hard-working folks at [the factory]. I am happy to come visit whenever they want. Really.

I walked to dinner at the extremely average [ethnic] restaurant that shares the parking lot with this [chain hotel]. During the course of the meal, I dropped [ethnic sauce] in the lap of the only pair of pants I have with me. That will look great tomorrow when I bet we have lunch at another [same ethnic group] restaurant.

After that, I decided to see the sites, which include the birthplace of [a famous person]. And that's when it happened. The navigation system in the Hertz rental car started taunting me. It offered up a listing of local hotels, bars and restaurants. Remember, I had already eaten. So this was nothing but malice on the part of Mr. Neverlost. Somehow, I found myself sitting there entering letters into the Neverlost database: D . . . A . . . I . . . . I swear I had no intention of doing this. R . . . Y . . . .

And, there it was, only 1.2 miles away: a Dairy Queen. I did not even need to think. All I had to do was listen to the pleasantly female voice say "Prepare to turn right," and "Right turn approaching." Next thing I knew, I was inside a very tidy little DQ/Brazier ordering up a medium Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzard.

I have news for you: That is a darn good cup of ice cream. Big strawberries. Big chunks of something that might even be cheesecake. It is the last thing in the world I needed, and I regret it already. As I said in an earlier post, when I look in the mirror, I see this guy. But, it sure was good. Tomorrow, I will feel guilty. Definitely.

So, I love the fact that my rental car talks to me and keeps me from getting lost. Once, in one trip, I was lost for hours both in Pittsburgh and Detroit. I literally ended up on a dirt road outside Pittsburgh at a cemetery. Where was Neverlost then? Not helping me out of that jam. Instead, it was biding its time waiting until it could enable me to find a DQ in [rural town], [southern state].

Can't really complain about the Blizzard, though. That was all good.

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