Boomer Glitch

It turns out I was confused by Apple Maps when traveling on foot until my daughter yanked my head out of my backside. One issue is that I often reach for my phone to get directions without putting on my glasses. The bigger issue is that I don’t use Maps enough for my drifty brain to commit to the system. For folks in my age range, this story may make you feel darn tech-savvy. Anyone younger willing to read more than five sentences may find a little compassion for their parents.

A few years ago, our daughter Sadie and I traveled together and walked around a few cities. You can picture what that looked like – this old lass punched in directions, and then my Boomer Glitch of the day caused things to get wonky. Sadie responded with eye-rolling, huffing irritation, and a few abrupt halts to dig out her phone to set us straight.

The issue was that I would take us in a direction based on my version of Apple Maps logic. The blue line in Maps never seemed to behave according to my limitations. Multiple times a day for many days, I would lead us with my phone. We would end up going the wrong way and then have to double back, the old boomerang if you will. The hustle and bustle of the city streets and the need to get going prevented me from working out the glitches of my reasoning. Before I could dig out my glasses or look closer, Sadie would quickly take command of the ship to get us going in the right direction. 

One morning, Sadie was helping me muster up directions so I could go off on my own. She answered a few of my questions about following Maps because there was no rush or bustle. When it became clear to her that something was amiss in my understanding, I prepared myself to be the brunt of some boomer jokes. It turns out my misunderstanding was so off, it was beyond mockery.

After a significant pause with an expression of appreciative amusement, Sadie sympathetically shook her head and grinned broadly. I had a solid grasp that the little circle represented me, but I perceived the projected lines spreading off the circle to be a little jet stream behind the blue-dot version of me as if to fuel me on the path to the next destination. With incredible patience, Sadie clarified that the radiating lines projecting off the blue dot point in the direction one is supposed to be going, almost like a headlamp. I could tell she liked my idea better than the headlamp concept, evidenced by the lack of scolding. We are both fast walkers who crank around whenever we are heading anywhere. The jets made sense!

Recently, I spent some time walking around a city with my young friend Bainon and her mom, Jane. Bainon is like a niece to me. On our first walk across the city, I knew she would get a chuckle out of how I had only recently been educated about my direction jets situation. Bainon could have mocked me for such tech-skill glitchery, but like Sadie, she also found this hilarious and kind of amazing. For the rest of our time together, whenever the three of us would get ready to punch in a new destination, Bainon would reference how the jets would help us find our way.

Because my jet perception didn’t cause either of these two young people to fold up and hiss with exasperation or annoyance about such a boomer glitch, I am inclined to think that Maps should reconsider. I am well aware that millions of humans have already integrated the idea of the headlamp, but no one can deny that the idea of jetting around would add a little kick and joy to one’s foot travel.

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