Google Maps to the Rescue

Somewhere in A’Dam

Earlier this week, I found myself drifting off in space. Just another one of those sudden occasions when I don’t purposely zone out but, rather, catch myself after the fact and wonder precisely how long I was away. Suffice it to say, I was not in the tiny town in which I currently reside during my respite.

Handsome buildings stand tall, lining either side of the streets, in many of my favorite cities. When I came back down to earth, I so yearned for my shoes to be frolicking down the sidewalk in one of these magical places, rather than resting on the dull carpet under my desk. The eye-catching sides of the buildings were calling my name. Louder so than usual. 

I started feeling uncomfortable and wondered how I could shake the feeling. So, I started Google searching (a common habit of mine) ways to stop missing a person, place, or thing. One of the suggestions I found was to not try to squash the feelings and to simply let them stay a while. Playing a certain song or finding the perfect station on Pandora, associated with the memories, was recommended. I took the advice. 

An idea shot in my brain — I can use Google Maps to look up a place where I would like to be and then zoom around from there. Like walking! I went to three locations in my cities. I so enjoyed meandering about, albeit digitally. Although the smells, sounds, and tastes were absent, I had the images right there in front of me. Just a click of the mouse and I was happier. 

The experience felt nice and helped me to be more in-the-moment. The walls of my room didn’t seem as painfully unlike the impressive buildings with the beautiful sides. A sadness lifted a bit. Although I can never be in more than one place at a time, there is comfort in knowing I can type in an address and at least see the places I am missing. Virtual bliss.



Surprise Greeting from Google Maps

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.18.10 AM.png
A few weekends ago, my dad and I were at a truck rental agency in Cincinnati, OH. We were headed to the house my grandparents bought 57 years ago. With my Grandpa having passed away a couple years ago and my Grandma in a nursing home, the house is now for sale and we needed to get our things. My dad asked me to bring up the directions on my phone.

Knowing the address by heart (I can recall addresses and phone numbers from my childhood better than those of today), I typed it into Google Maps. The map appeared, along with a small photo of the house at the bottom left of the screen. The Street View provided a nostalgic glance at the house I knew in my heart I might be going to for one of the last times— if not the last time. I clicked on the screen with my thumb and enlarged the image.

There he was, my Grandpa Ed, sitting on the porch with his legs crossed, in one of the two Cracker Barrel rocking chairs my parents gave him and my Grandma for Christmas many years ago! I couldn’t believe my eyes. How in the world had the Google Maps Street View driver managed to capture him at this exact moment? Then, I realized Grandpa was probably in this same position every day and I was just lucky an update of Burch Avenue had not already occurred.

Modern technology can be so strange, at times. But, there are definitely moments when you can’t help but just be thankful for the ways it provides moments of awe and gratitude and maybe even an unexpected hello from a deceased relative. For me, this was one of those moments.