Trust Your Instincts, Not Your Garmin

Technology is a wonderful thing. It can also get you into trouble. The trick seems to be not to let it override your instincts. Glutted with cyberspace “experts” and “authorities” […]

July 20, 2011 // Tracy Shaffer // No Comments //

Technology is a wonderful thing. It can also get you into trouble. The trick seems to be not to let it override your instincts. Glutted with cyberspace “experts” and “authorities” in every field, willing to blog, comment and advise us on how to live, where to live and how to stay alive in these economically fragile times, we defer to their knowledge. We share news and photos instantly, depend on satellites to point us in the right direction which can drug us to a loss of common sense, or in Rep. Weiner’s case, insanity. Has our reliance on things outside of ourselves to tell us what we can figure out gone too far? Maybe so.
I spent last week in Telluride with my sister and my sons, working in the Telluride Playwrights Festival. The idea was that my sis and the boys would take road trips around the beautiful San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado while I chained myself to my computer with a script revision. My sister is from California, and… she lives in Bakersfield. What does she know from mountains? They drove off in my new Saab, headed for the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde and checked into a lodge in the land without cell service. By nightfall I hadn’t heard from them, so to avoid worry, I checked in with myself. My instincts told me they were fine; though I did have a flash about my car and a mountain. The next morning they called from the hotel phone to say they were off for the tour of the ruins. In the afternoon I got a text they were leaving Durango, and as evening settled in, I got a call from my sister’s cell as she was riding an ATV down the back country to civilization. “Can you pick us up?” she asked, “Your car is stuck.” “What kind of ‘stuck’?” inadvertently flew out of my mouth. “I’ll tell you when I see you”. Click. I arranged for a friend to drive me 30 miles to pick up the only three people on the planet I’d give a kidney to and set out for the Enterprise Bar & Grill in Rico with the word ‘stuck’ stuck in my head.
On their way home my sister’s trusty Garmin told her to take a left at Purgatory, and with some encouragement from my sons, anxious to get home faster, she did. If she’d gone to Catholic school, she’d have known where that road leads.
Now, a GPS does not distinguish between paved and unpaved roads, steering us as the crow flies, but my sons were raised in Colorado and should have known better. You don’t take a car with an 8” clearance and low-profile radials off-roading up an 11,000 foot mountain. Especially after torrential rains. Restraining myself from the “What the hell were you thinking?” line of questioning, I opted for “At what point did you realize you were on the wrong road?” The answer…”When we crossed the river.” So the car gets stuck and they set out on the 4.7 mile (according to the Garmin) hike from the car to the road. By the grace of god and “Glen”, who decided to take his sons out for a little late afternoon 4-wheeling, they got down the mountain safely, unstruck by lightening and we were all able to hydrate at the Enterprise.
The next day, the owner of the towing company specializing in pulling the brave and the misguided out of these situations, told me this happens all the time! My sister is a very intelligent woman with a reasonable of bravery, though not a gal one would describe as “outdoorsy”. Her only mistake

Not my actual car...I can only imagine.

was putting her trust and her safety in the hands of a very handy piece of technology… and that’s what got me thinkin’.
How many times do we ignore our gut in deference to the ‘expert’? And how many times do we ignore the ‘expert’ for reasons that have nothing to do with our instincts?
I see this in my real estate business as buyers and sellers want to trust information from the news and websites, over real market data to justify a high price or a low-ball offer. The problem is that the news often presents national statistics that may have little or no bearing on what is happening in your neighborhood and the websites are often wrong or outdated. Both can be useful if you know how to use them, just like the Garmin. The best advice I have for you (as an expert) is to trust your instincts. Especially when hiring a Realtor…or driving in the San Juans.