While I marvel in many ways at this era's smart technology, the cynic in me frets about how it's making me dumber. Case in point: I used to remember phone numbers, and now I don't. Perhaps that's not the finest indicator of smarts, yet it's why I'm glad my car doesn't have a navigation system. That means my sense of direction and map-reading abilities may last longer than they might otherwise, or so my slipshod thinking goes.
That context hopefully illuminates my mixed feelings Thursday night when I pedaled through unfamiliar streets, heading west from Stapleton towards Union Station in downtown Denver. Daylight dwindled as I raced to catch the next transit bus I hoped would take me most of the miles home. In my jacket pocket, my phone with the volume turned all the way up chirped directions from a map app, loud enough to be heard over both wind and ticking gears.
A prim digital voice kept me on track or made immediate course corrections when I went astray -- like when I followed a signed turn to the station only to realize what would've been great if I were driving a car was too dangerous for a boy on a bike in the dark. My pocket computer coaxed me back to safety through some manner of seamless GPS magic, and I made the bus, where it felt decadent to have an open spot next to me so my chagrin had somewhere to sit.