By Francis Ewherido
I have never been among the first set of people to latch on to new technologies. But my wife, who is new technology buff, somehow drags me along, but it is not an easy task for her because I am very stubborn and conservative. The same trend was not different with Google Map. In fact, it was not until 2018 in Houston that I found the need to use the map.
Houston is not like New York, Chicago or some other US cities where public transportation is easy to come by. In the part of Houston where I put up when I travel, there is zero public transportation, unless you want to use Uber, and you know what that means if you convert from dollars to Naira (I once used it for a return trip, which cost $300! My only consolation was that the trip fetched more money).
So, you are most times stuck at home until weekends when your host would be free to take you around. There was a spare vehicle in the house, but how do you find your way around? The ubiquitous road signs certainly help, but they cannot help you all the time. And as a black man you do not want to stop every now and then to ask for direction and draw unnecessary attention to yourself. So Google Map came to my rescue.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay the last time I travelled because I could move around easily. It was not always smooth though with Houston’s multiple flyovers criss-crossing one another. Also, on one occasion the Google Map App took my wife and me to a dead end. It was a Mexican neighbourhood, which was somewhat quiet and unnerving.
By the time I got back to Nigeria, my love affair with Google Map was now full blown. The love affair is so strong that my wife jokingly tell people that I use Google Map to navigate my way from the sitting room to the bedroom. It is not that bad, but I scarcely go anywhere without my Google map on. Google guides you to destinations you are unfamiliar with. In addition, it shows you how to get to destinations you already know through the fastest routes.
Google Map also shows the estimated time of the trip. In places like Abuja with very light traffic and multiple routes, the estimation is always accurate, but Lagos is a different kettle of fish. I have spent three hours on a trip Google estimated for an hour. I have a feeling the Google people never had Lagos traffic in contemplation while configuring the app.
Google Map does have its downsides. Google has also taken me to dead ends in Lagos, just as it did in Houston. It also behaves like a zombie sometimes. While going to my church, it estimates the trip at 12 minutes. By the time I do seven minutes, I will be seeing the church building 30 seconds; meanwhile Google will be directing me to take a longer route that will take a kilometre longer. The same happens when I go to my bank. The downsides notwithstanding, Google Map App is one of the few new technologies that has had a profound impact in my life.
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Sometimes, I had wondered what will happen if there were to be such a scientific device, like Google Map, that shows people their future. It will be one of the highest selling products. Of course, there are fortune tellers and palm readers, who they say tell people their future. But their patronage is not widespread for many reasons. One, some people will never go near them for religious reasons. Two, in today’s society there are more fake than genuine, so, assuming some of them are genuine, it is difficult to distinguish between the fake and genuine. Personally, I do not need them because my faith in God is total.
I do not need to know tomorrow. The all-seeing and all-knowing God already knew everything even before I was born. Let me just continue to trust in him to lead me in the right direction. So, even if there was a technology like Google Map that shows you your future, I am not likely to subscribe to it, unlike the Google Map. Where is the excitement and desire to look into the future when you already know it?
Tribute to Pa. Morakinyo Bajomo (1934-2021)
It is not unexpected for an 86-year-old man to go back to his maker, but the death of Pa MorakinyoBajomo jolted me. He had been ill for a short while. My wife and I had gone to the hospital to see him a week earlier. He was in critical, but stable condition. When I asked and they told me he was eating well, I felt he would be back home in a short while. He never came back home. Rather, he left his hospital bed for the morgue. It was Rotimi, his first son, who broke the news of his demise to me. I quickly rounded up my haircut and went to see mummy, Mrs.Itunu Bajomo, his wife of 53 years.
Pa Bajomo was my neighbour for about 20 years before he passed on. He was a good man, polished, urbane and generous. Our relationship evolved from neighbour to father and son/daughter (He was also very close to my wife. In fact, my wife wept when she heard the news). He remembered our birthdays and wedding anniversaries. He called and sometimes sent messages and gifts. He was not only a father-figure to us, he was a friend. He was a very humble man and related to us as if we were mates.
Pa Bajomo’s financial planning is the model every young man should emulate. He worked hard in his younger days and prepared for retirement well. In old age, in sickness and in health, he was not a financial burden to anyone. Rather, he was still supporting family members, friends and causes.
Pa Bajomo was a great fan of my column. He bought Vanguard Newspaper only on Saturdays because of my column. Sometimes, he would call me to discuss issues I raised in my column. Sometimes, he shared the column with his children. At other times he would stop me during my morning exercise to discuss. He was worried about Nigeria and would often share his concerns with me.
He was a total gentleman and family man. The wife kept telling us during our condolence visit that “baba was a gentle and good man. He never raised his hands against me and we never quarrelled in our 53 years together.” They shared a blissful life together for 53 years. I hope young couples are listening.
Adieu Pa Bajomo, my daddy, friend and fan. I will miss you.