I had a couple of speaking engagements in Oklahoma City last weekend. My host called me and gave me directions which I dutifully jotted down on a piece of paper and tucked into my purse to make sure I had them. Even though I lived in OKC for a few years, I really didn’t recognize the streets and connections she was giving me. That’s OK, it’s all good.
My first event was early and I was anxious about oversleeping or having problems so I set two alarms and took off. I pay big bucks for my OnStar feature in my vehicle. I kinda like being able to talk to a real person and ask them to figure out the driving directions. So my OnStar person listened to the address (I always call them Glinda, as in “Follow the yellow brick road!”) and sent me on my way to South Western Avenue. I had a tricky turn and I missed it and I got the dreaded, “You have left the planned route” alert to which I wanted to argue, “Well, that wasn’t MY plan!” But instead, I asked Glinda to update my route. So while I’m waiting on an update and I know I’m not going the right direction, I take a guess at how to get back on the right road and I head there. That’s OK, it’s all good.
It’s taking way longer than usual for Glinda to give me updated directions, so I press that little handy OnStar button and tell them that I’m getting ready to be really lost if I don’t get some directions. Someway in the magical world where they know where I am at every turn and where I’m headed, he said he would resend the directions right away. So I keep trucking. That’s OK, it’s all good.
For a moment, it did cross my mind that I was surprised the church was in Edmond since I thought she lived on the South side of OKC. I was making great time and would get there early as promised. Glinda announced I had “arrived” at my destination. Pretty much, all there was to see was a stand of trees, I had that sinking feeling. This is bad. This is not OK.
I punched the OnStar button again (maybe harder than necessary) and tried to keep the irritation out of my voice, and my live person let out an “uh oh”. I knew this wasn’t going to be good. She quickly explained that I was at NORTH Western Avenue, and the South Western Avenue I was looking for was now 35 minutes away. I was 20 minutes from being introduced to speak. She apologized and tried to rally me. I really needed her to tell me to click my heels together three times and I’d be there. So, she resent the directions to my car. Now, I don’t trust Glinda, so I use Google maps and get a second opinion.
If I hadn’t been so stressed and needing to drive like Dale Earnhardt, I would have enjoyed the competition between OnStar Glinda and GPS. I was hoping they both had the same planned route. I was taking the advice from whoever got it said the quickest and covering ground.
My host called and asked my whereabouts. I screeched in on two wheels (not really) and bolted into the church like the devil was after me. One minute to spare. Deep breath and I started in on my presentation which just happened to be about the roads we take in life.
There’s a lesson in there… written directions, overpriced OnStar, Google Maps GPS, there are lots of ways to get places, especially if you don’t know where you are going. That’s OK, it’s all good.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.