On the Way to Stupid

A friend was driving me round Madrid today and I told him I always used a GPS to get to the shop we were going to. He told me he never used a GPS if he could avoid it as he had always been good at finding his way around, had good spacial/directional awareness and wanted to keep using it.

This struck me as a very good idea. I told him I used a calculator to check my 8 year-old son’s maths homework (I’m talking multiplications like 2,340 x 8), because it was a pain to think about doing it any other way. He was shocked – he does the sums.

I told him I can only remember three phone numbers now – my mobile, the landline, and my wife’s mobile – all the rest are in the phone, so why bother memorising them? He told me he makes sure he can memorise at least all the numbers of his family.

Clearly, all this tech could make me stupid. How are our brains going to be when we are 70 if we don’t have to exercise them nearly as much as we used to? Memory? Calculation? OK, we don’t need to memorise phone numbers any more and never will, but memory is still useful and it wouldn’t hurt to exercise it!

The most challenging thing my brain is doing these days is learning to sight-read music. I was thinking of ditching it as you can get away without it perfectly well on the guitar (at my level anyway), but I think this is one more reason it’ll be worth continuing – to keep my brain challenged! To keep it making new, fresh connections with new, tricky material.

And whenever I can avoid it, the GPS is staying in the glove compartment, I’d rather have fun getting un-lost every now and again using the compass in my nose!

4 thoughts on “On the Way to Stupid”

  1. GPS is another of those technological demons that takes all the fun out of being on the road! I was listening to a programme on CBC radio a few years ago about getting lost, and the point was made that GPS doesn’t allow for getting lost or a driver’s desire to be curious, but how wonderful it can be when you do take a wrong turn, misread a sign post or follow your nose, because then you discover things you hadn’t even thought about. It made me remember when I was a child. My dad would take us all out for a drive, usually with a destination in mind, sometimes not, but he was always ready to diverge and explore off the beaten track. Tech can take the colour and surprise out of life, so it’s good to read you’re leaving your GPS in the glove compartment. Happy travelling and music making, Ben.

  2. Your stories reminds me of a happy experience I had a few days ago while walking the dog. Rather than take one of the usual walks I let her decide which way to go. We ended up going a new direction where she made a new doggy friend. Her new friend’s owner was amazed at how well they got on together because normally his dog doesn’t get on with other dogs. While the dogs played I got a tour of a large and interesting garden.

  3. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    Donna, that’s a great story, shows the importance of taking a new route every now and again!

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