Even though I can’t ever see me seriously having to use it.
I mean, in over 40 years of existence on this earth I have never ever got myself so lost that I needed a satellite to give me some idea of where I was. I don’t as a rule allow myself to be parachuted into the heart of the Hindu Kush for example. Or take rogue camel rides into the Kalahari.
I might occasionally take a wrong turning on a B road but that’s about it.
But the GPS is kind of nice to have. It’s kind of cool. It’s a new toy with which I can play. And I have played with it. I launched it the other night and waited. Waited for the US satellite several miles up above me to triangulate my position (on the sofa, in my living room, watching The One Show) and report back via a little red dot on a map where the hell it thought I was
It got pretty close. My town, My street. But not my house number. No. It placed me in next door’s living room on their beer can strewn couch (they’re students). Or possibly in the upstairs bathroom. I’m sure all this was news to my wife but possibly explains why I was so incommunicative.
And it got me thinking. See, if I was ever taken hostage in my own house by terrorists (look, it could happen, OK?), held at gun / knife point and my house booby trapped, the phone lines cut, internet access blocked and my ability to hail my next-door neighbour over the garden fence neutralized... my only chance of raising the alarm might be my mobile phone. Quite how I’d operate the touch screen with any degree of accuracy with my hands handcuffed behind my back (steady, ladies) is something I haven’t yet worked out... but there I’d be, smugly silent while the US satellite above me slowly sought me out. Beep-beep. Locked on target. On a military computer monitor in the back of an armoured truck at the top of the street thermal imaging suddenly colourizes my home’s illegal occupants an angry red.
“There’s three, blue leader – one in the upstairs john, two downstairs with the hostage...”
“Copy. Tell the men we go in hard. Shoot to kill. Save the hostage (save the world)...”
A couple of hand signals like they do in modern war films and with a crack of boot leather on asphalt in would charge the marines (yes, yes, I know it would be the local constabulary or, if I was lucky, Warwick District’s armed response team – if they have one - don’t spoil it for me).
Crash! The front door caves in under a strike from a battering ram. The stair rods ping away as steel toe-capped commando boots hurl themselves up the stairs. Red laser gun sights strafe the downstairs living room, cutting through the haze of nicotine and cheap cannabis...
No, wait... cheap cannabis? Nicotine? Oh shit, they’ve got the...
Blam! Blam! Blam!
A couple of desultory cans of Special Brew ricochet off the walls as three dead students (looking much as they did in life) slump to the floor dribbling profusely.
Meanwhile, next door, a swarthy looking man lowers his Afghan scarf from his face to whisper intimately into my ear... “So... you think to get rescued, huh? You think to use your infidel Western technology against us? Tch. Very bad idea, my friend. Very bad. Maybe your smart-phone is not so smart, huh? Just like you...”
Bloody GPS, US satellites, Nokia smart-phones, etc.