Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Google is Not God, Even Though It Appears Omnipotent

It was an innocent and thoughtful idea. We had been home all day, taking a Christmas break from school work, and not looking forward to a long evening since my husband was working late.

"Let's go someplace!" I told the children. "Some place fun."

The young ones bought into the idea.

"Yea! That would be great!"

My oldest was a bit concerned....

"This isn't going to be a field trip, is it?"

Really, my oldest is a nice child (being a paperboy and all), and his concern is legitimate and based on life experiences.

Last Christmas, we ended a three year Christmas tradition. The tradition is for me to purchase tickets to see whatever seasonal show is being produced by the Children's Theater downtown, and then never see it because I can't find a place to park.

The last year of the tradition, we left the house exactly 2 hours before the show was to start. The kids were dressed nicely (already annoying the oldest three -- my two boys and my tomboy daughter), and we happily went out the door. It takes only 15-20 minutes to drive downtown, so I was sure this would work.

Fast forward to 1 1/2 hours later.

I was sitting amid a sea of yellow school buses, completely stuck in traffic two blocks away from the theater, dangerously close to teaching my children an entirely new vocabulary that I really don't want them to know. I can't go anywhere because traffic isn't moving (the buses are dropping children off at the theater), and I can't drop anybody off because I'm the only licensed driver and everybody with me is under 10.

After nearly having a stroke, I pulled into the only garage with parking available. It was $15 to park for an hour, but it didn't matter any way, because after driving through the entire garage, I learned that there were no spots available. The lot guy forgot to put out the "full" sign. At that point, the show (which is only about 1/2 hour in length) was set to start in 5 minutes.

"Guys, I think we need to go home."

"Yea!! This field trip is boring."

"Mom," the oldest said, "Could we maybe just not take field trips anymore? Or at least not ones like this?"

And, so it was agreed. While I am good at teaching them some things, I am not good at field trips. In fact, when I taught school I hated field trips. Who, in their right mind, likes to go places with large groups of children?

Anyway, it was with this history in mind that we decided, after looking at an Enquirer article I found on line, to go to see the "Holiday in Lights" display at Sharon Woods. The article said that a van could get in for $7. So, I googled the location, grabbed some money and we headed out the door.

Fast forward 25 minutes. The vein in my forehead was starting to pop out. I got off the highway, like my directions said, but I didn't know which way to turn. The directions implied that I would only be able to go one way. So, I went right for a few miles, and couldn't find the road to "turn slightly left" on. Being a home school mom, I knew exactly where to go for help: the library (it doesn't hurt that my husband was working there).

"I'm calling because Google is not God, even though it thinks it's omnipotent."


"I'm lost and I need help."

He quickly found where we were on the Google maps/satellite. And, after three phone calls, two incorrect entrances, and about 1 hour after we left home, we got to Sharon Woods.

I pulled up to the guy taking money.

"That will be $12."

"$12??? The paper said $7!"

I scraped together $12 dollars and handed it to him.

"This better be one good light show for $12!"

"Uh... Merry Christmas and enjoy the show...."

Well, that's just the problem. As I pulled into the park, I realized that I wasn't going to enjoy the show! I mean, they're Christmas lights! Exactly how exciting can that be? The back of the van was a different story. There were "ohhs and ahhs" and squeals of excitement all around. At one point we drove down a hill into a light tunnel. Not exactly "The Beast" as far as I was concerned, but everyone behind me thought it was a thrill of a lifetime.

This isn't the first time that I've had this feeling. There have been many times where I remember something fun from my childhood and then do it with my kids only to find that it isn't fun at all. In fact, it's rather stupid. Take, for instance, The Mystery Mansion that Defied Gravity, Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, Tourist Caves, or Putt-Putt Mountain in Gatlinburg:

"I paid twice as much to putt putt here as the other place so that I could do it on an artificial mountain? But it doesn't even feel like a mountain!"

It was then that I realized that these cheap thrills from my childhood where thrills for simply one reason: I wasn't the one paying for them!

After several minutes of the Holiday light "spectacular" it finally occurred to me that my $12 of enjoyment wasn't going to come from the light show, because a light show is nothing more than a bunch of Christmas lights. However, listening to them enjoy the light show and be awed by something so, well, not impressive, was where the fun was.

We got home later that evening. As I was complaining to my husband, he did a quick Google search. Apparently I had gotten directions to the Sharon Woods Golf Course. I still think that was google's fault and not mine.

However, the kicker was the info on the price. I had pulled up an Enquirer Article from the year 2000! Now, why that would be the top of the list for google's search engine, I don't know. But I guess it does go to show you should really look at the entire page when you get your information from the web!

1 comment:

MarlaQuack said...

Ya know you could have just called us and saved your selves $12.