Contemplations of a Streetsmart Bookworm Uncategorized

Of GPS, Maps and Indicators

Written by Ope Ashiru

I have never been good at geography, that’s putting it mildly. I couldn’t read a map even if my life depended on it. My Map-reading test papers were always turned in blank, which means I always had a perfect zero except the examiner was humorous, then I’d get a smiley with big ears and probably an extra title such as OLODO-The one with the Fishy eyes.

Since we are talking geography, let me put things in perspective. I moved to Lagos over five years ago, twice a year I drive down to Ibadan to visit my parents (we rendezvous at other places and events during the course of the year) Once I ascend the Third Mainland Bridge from the Island end of it, If I maintain an average speed of 120km/h while keeping my steering straight except when I swerve to avoid potholes or overtake slowcoaches, I should be at the junction of Bashorun Estate where my parents live in an hour and thirty- four minutes. The last time I made the journey I was still scared I’d ‘miss road’, I have gotten lost a few times (These are my confessions…..)

Two years ago the church I attend completed the building of a new worship centre which was right next to the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu. One would think as an art lover and a Lagos resident finding my way there for the dedication service wouldn’t be such a big deal. It was! Luckily my pastor had made maps available and given a detailed description of the different routes, but I chose to roll with a friend. Fair enough.

So we got dressed and got in the car, Boye who can read maps (and is also a genius in the true and classical sense of the word) points to the left and says ‘the lagoon is that way, so we‘ll use it as our reference point, you know the lagoon is north right?’ I shook my head but rather than feel uneasy about my ignorance I immediately feel more comfortable about the journey ahead, I don’t need to know as long as I am rolling with someone who knows.

Full tank…check, IV card with map behind it….check, offline map of our route downloaded to phone…check, voice enabled google map activated on tablet….check. All set and good to go. The engine starts, pedal hits the metal and rubber hits the road.

‘In fifteen meters turn right to Ozumba Mbadiwe’ at this point we were still chatting with T-Bone rapping in the background, ignoring ‘her’ just because….we live in Lekki and Ozumba Mbadiwe happens to be in our area code. Fast forward thirteen minutes. ‘In two minutes slide right to exit ****) by this time the stereo was off and our ear antennas were up and attentive but she {google maps} just happens to have a funny accent. In two minutes we saw a couple of exits to take but this time she was silent, the oracle had already spoken, the car was moving and time wasn’t standing still so we took the exit that made most sense to us. I looked at the tablet. Nothing. After a few seconds the indicator changed position, ‘in twenty meters take a left at the roundabout to get on ****’ Ahhh that accent again!

At this point Boye recalled a sermon he had heard in which preacher likened the ‘voice’ of the Holy Spirit to the Google maps lady and our conscience to the indicator/cursor on the map. The cursor gives us a general sense of direction, but at critical points such as cross roads obedience to the lady’s instruction makes all the difference. So whatever you do get used to her accent. Another thing about her is that she never argues, she just talks and keeps quiet, but as long as you don’t ‘turn her off’ and you are still interested in the ‘way’ she would always speak.

We obeyed the lady and took the left at the roundabout, but by this time we had figured that we needed more than just the cursor and the lady’s voice to get us there. So we looked out for landmarks etc and from in between two trailers I saw a sign post that indicated we were in Apapa, then I remembered while Pastor was describing the place he had urged us to pay attention while taking the turnings off the bridge to avoid ‘missing road’ landing ourselves in Apapa and I began to wonder if he had been speaking prophetically or from experience.

Seeing we were lost and in traffic we decided to ask other road users for directions. People have different formulas for picking who to ask for direction e.g. never ask young men, only ask elderly ladies etc. I am always willing to ask anybody but while you speak I look you and what I see determines if I accept what I hear. A gentleman who didn’t have an accent or rather whose accent I understood pointed us in the right direction. It turned out we only needed to make two turns before seeing the building and we also saw the point at which we missed it with google map. When got to the last intersection we just followed other cars who were obviously headed to our venue.

At the venue there were a lot of cars and everyone was obviously trying to get the best parking space, from my observation it seemed most people thought the closer their parking space was to the auditorium the better it was. I smiled and told Boye to park in one free space I saw beside the gate, getting out was going to be very easy and we also got a good view of the beautiful compound. My geography might suck but my bearing rocks absolutely. Life is so full of motions and activity but I find wisdom in the words of LASTMA officials, ‘Oga! Park well!’ Your future is only as bright as the position(s) you take. In life you must take a position if not life will eventually ‘happen’ to you. I have learnt form events in the financial industry that habitual hedging is like sitting living on a fence, you will soon realise that you are terribly exposed. Life is all about deals, and a true dealer must always take a position. The secret is to put yourself in a position to go short when the market is going long. Simply put you should have made sure you had enough dollars to sell before oil prices came down. It also means that this is the time a nation that exports crude oil for dollars MUST despite the dis-ease reduce its exports and channel its efforts towards other ventures which have better returns on investments because the price of crude oil is currently below fair market value and the price of the dollar is currently above fair market value. The laws of physics indicate that nature is cyclic, and ‘what goes around comes around’. The tide will turn, now is the time to take a position. Take yours wisely.



  • Lovely post. Very apt but please can we talk about how Google maps takes you through the worst route and to the wrongest locations. Last weekend it still landed my friends and I on front of someone’s house when searching for a restaurant

  • Lol I thought it was just me who was bad with roads in Lagos even if I have lived here all my life save for when I had to go to boarding school and uni.


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