fiction

The GPS Trap

dog GPSThey use it for teenage drivers and dogs – it was only a matter of time before they strapped them on senior citizens. My owner – make that daughter – got one for me a few months ago. She said she was tired of me wandering off and having to drive all over the neighborhood to find me. And tired of calling the police whenever she came home only to find an empty house.

So now I have this GPS device strapped around my ankle. I call it the Geezer Positioning System. Right after I get my bath, the ballistic nylon strap is attached to my ankle. She who must be obeyed calls it a “virtual fence.” I call it a prison. If I go outside the prescribed freedom zone, she gets an alarm on her cell phone. It also calls her if the battery is low and monitors temperature conditions – the latter feature is very helpful if I wander into a walk-in freezer or an oven. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.

I guess I should be happy GPS screenthat it doesn’t give me an electrical shock when I go beyond the virtual fence. And I should be thankful too that it’s not some chip implanted under the skin. That would be so totally 1984, but maybe that day is coming soon.

Every night I have this recurring dream where I get the GPS off of me and strap it on to a longhaul tractor trailer. The dream continues with daughter speeding across I-40 trying to run it down. Then I wake up smiling.

I read about a recent study that showed Alzheimers patients who got lost were usually found very close to home – often as close as a quarter mile. I wanted to tell GPS path diagrammy daughter this, but she thinks my mind is totally gone anyway, so I doubt I have any credibility left. Researchers suggest that law enforcement officials avoid making logical deductions about where the person might be going, because “They have no mind-set. If they had a mind-set, they wouldn’t be lost.” Well, isn’t that special. Personally, I think I do have a mind-set most of the time, and that mind-set is telling me that this sort of life sucks.

You know what the biggest irony is? They think we’re getting lost, but the truth is we’re just trying to escape the stultifying boredom of it all. So if you see me going over the wall – you can bet it will be without out the GPS.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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