Yesterday there was a report that a British Airways plane leaving from Heathrow landed in Edinburgh rather than Dusseldorf. A wrong flight path was filed and the pilot went north instead of east. The embarrassed pilot then had to fly the passengers on to Germany. They arrived over 4 hours late.
With so many people flying each day and with so many airplanes up in the sky it is amazing that such incidents don't happen more often. Oh sure I know flight plans are filed in computers, that the planes GPS should guarantee that the flight gets there, and that sort of things. But computers are not full proof. They make mistakes and human error often plays a part in these errors.
I for one have a horrible sense of direction. I don't know whether I just don't take proper notice of my surroundings, or whether my internal compass is off, but I get lost rather easily. Take last Saturday night. I was at an event in a rather unfamiliar territory for me. GPS had managed to find my way there, no problem. But upon leaving the venue, I went out a different exit than the one I had come in. Suddenly, I had no idea where my car was. I spent 15 minutes looking for my car. Had it been stolen? Had I misread the parking signs and had my car been towed away? But eventually I turned the right corner and there was "Priscilla" right where I had parked her.
I know certain parts of the city quite well now, but when I go to strange territory, I rely heavily on my GPS. It is great 99% of the time. It finds my way there and back. Only occasionally are there problems. In the CBD sometimes, the huge buildings play havoc with the satellite feed and place me somewhere where I am not. The GPS does not work in tunnels and sometimes it takes a while to catch up once you are above ground. Once in Canada, a new highway had opened up, and this highway was not yet on the GPS mapping system so for 15 kilometres or so all I could hear was the computerised voice say, "Return to route," over and over again. In Florida in a hire car, the GPS suddenly went dead in a middle of a drive in unfamiliar territory. But as I said almost all of the time, GPS is a very helpful tool. It gets me from here to there.
In life though, I have come to learn the following things about directions. Sometimes, the detours are the places where you see the outstanding, learn new things, and discover things about yourself. In life, you can see that there are many ways to the end. One can follow many paths. Sometimes it is ok to be lost. And sometimes Edinburgh is just as nice as Dusseldorf. Blessings.
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