As we navigated our way to our weekend destination guided by a mechanically voiced woman known as Siri who sounds subtly sexy, yet subliminally scary at the same time, I contemplated the evolution of getting directions in our society.

The stagecoaches that first traversed across America were led by a stagecoach driver named Buck and his side kick Beauregard, or simply Bo as the others in the wagon train called him.

Bo would look at the tethered pages of a crude map on papyrus written by Lewis and Clark and occasionally say “Giddeyup little doggies” while Buck would hit on the cute little cook named Norma Jean who was heading west to California to be star once someone finally invented movies. Ultimately, many wagon trains reached their destination. Others did not, which is why there is a town called Pahrump, Nevada.

After that, everyone traveled by rail until Karl Benz invented the automobile and Henry Ford quickly manufactured them and Dwight Eisenhower invented the Interstate Highways. Then everybody drove again and they had maps of each state that conveniently folded into a size that would fit right in your back pocket.

When you unfolded them, however, they were the size of the American Flag and were virtually impossible to refold again into pocket size. So we read through the crumpled pages to locate our route and sometimes would ultimately reach our destination. Sometimes we would end up in Pahrump, Nevada.

A brilliant person consolidated all of these maps into a big book called an Atlas which had all of the states combined into ONE book thereby eliminating the need to have 48 flag sized maps all crumpled in the back seat of your car.

The Atlas was quite the streamlined invention but became a little confusing when you crossed over the border from Iowa to Nebraska and had to turn from page 14 to page 26 to reconstruct your route since the states were listed in alphabetical order. But, the Atlas served its purpose for a while.

Thank God Al Gore invented the Internet. Once we had that newfangled devise, we were able to sign into AOL from the comfort of our own homes via the telephone lines and after a few harsh tones and random beeps, we could actually plot our destination and print out our very own custom directions in about an hour and seventeen minutes.

And then technology took off so fast even the tech geeks couldn’t keep up with it. Cellular phones became all the rage and at first they were big then they got smaller then they got really small then they got bigger again and soon they could track every move you made via something called a GPS and then the GPS could tell you every move you needed to make to get where you were going.

So now, we are at a point where we just plug in a destination on our cell phones and the mechanical voice of Siri who apparently is a close friend of Mr. GPS, tells us where to go, where to turn, where to exit.

God forbid you make a rest stop. This is where the subtle sexy turns into the subliminally scary Siri voice as you exit the gas station.

“Turn right at the next Street.”

“No, not THAT Street the very NEXT Street.”

“I SAID turn right. Turn right you fool. “


After 15 right turns, you see a broken wagon wheel after you pass over a bridge that goes over a dried out river bed named the Buckandbo River. Scattered alongside are 48 wads of crumbled papers.

Then, out of nowhere, you see a sign that says, “Now entering Pahrump Nevada.”

I know we’ve come a long way, but sometimes things never change.