Ever since I heard about geocaching in detail, I had two thoughts: “neat!” and “bad idea!” For those who don’t know, geocaching is this weird treasure hunt deal where people hide little boxes in out of the way places all over the country and then post their GPS coordinates on websites. Then people download those coordinates and find the little boxes. Usually the box contains something you’re supposed to take out and replace with something else, or just has a piece of paper with the signatures of those who found it.

Ok, first there’s the neat side of things. Doing that would be kind of fun. I’d feel like I was part of a text adventure game or something. It would be a fun new twist on taking your kids on a hike through the woods.

Now let’s look at the “bad idea” side of things. Random strangers are opening these boxes and putting things inside them. How long would it be until someone with mallicious intent left something dangerous or unpleasant for others to find? Sure, the theory is that since the object is to find other boxes and open them, it wouldn’t be long before the nasty fellow was on the receiving end of something not so pleasant, but that’s just a theory. I don’t have that much trust in my fellow human being. People are short-sighted, and some just want to cause trouble. What if someone who wasn’t an avid geocacher found out about a particular geocache in the city where he lives and decided to play a trick? What does he have to lose? He’s not going to be opening any more boxes. He’s just going to open this one here in this park here and throw in a bag of dog shit or whatever.

Then there’s the element of hiding the boxes. Sometimes, they’re made to look like parking meters or other things, but if you just try a little bit, you can open the fake parking meter and find the geocache. couldn’t this cause the more stupid among us to vandalize real parking meters because the GPS coordinates match? I mean, people have smashed buses into low bridges because they’re following GPS, so it’s possible.

Another bad aspect of it is when you start putting the boxes in pipes and have wires sticking out of them, they look a hell of a lot like bombs, and get lots of police involvement and cause mayhem. Yeah, having wires sticking out of them under a bridge on a highway is really amusing. Smart, real smart.

When I write something like this, I feel like an old woman. I do think geocaching really does sound like a cool idea. It’s just sad that it becomes less cool when the human element gets involved.

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