My GPS Has A Different Accent Than Yours

Posted on February 10, 2012


(The following is the 11th in my series, “Old Posts to Dredge out on Slow Weekends Because When I Posted Them Originally People Cared More About the Economy and World Peace Than My Blog.” This one, though, was actually my first Freshly Pressed post, so a lot of people did see it.)

I have a GPS in my car. I got it back in 2001, because there is no GPS in my head. There is not even a G. There is nothing in whatever spot is supposed to hold some sense of direction. To really run the analogy into the ground, this means I have no G spot.

I would like to think that the empty space is taken up by impeccable taste. But impeccable taste has never gotten me from Point A to Point B. I have many stories to tell about what happens to me when I try to get from Point A to Point B without the aid of a GPS, a gas station attendant, a random person on the street, or a cell phone. Sometimes, all four items are utilized.

The system my GPS uses is the same as the one Mapquest uses. This involves some kind of satellite up in space that knows where I am and will guide me to where I want to go. There is allegedly something else up there that does exactly the same thing, but the GPS satellite doesn’t have a lot of churches devoted to it and I don’t have to spend time there on weekends.

Sometimes, my GPS has a life of her own, independent of the satellite. Several years ago, on a trip to see my aunt who lives north of Philadelphia, I was directed to leave the highway 34 miles south the actual city.  Don’t ask me why I blindly followed this idiotic command.  It was most likely because I was distracted by eating ice cream directly out of the container, a pastime I enjoy while driving. (Another pastime I enjoy while on the road is having my ice cream-coated hands stick to the steering wheel.)

On the directions from the GPS, I wove my way around a never-ending succession of suburban neighborhoods, and told myself it was actually a clever shortcut. I was finally taken into the city via one of these secondary roads, and spent the better part of an hour, as the sun set, following trolley tracks.  The route was one that I normally would have chosen to take only if I were unconscious and tied up in the back seat and someone else were navigating. I could have sworn that I had inadvertently pushed the button on the navigation system that said “Most Use of Package Liquor Stores and Check Cashing Emporiums” instead of “Most Use of Paved Roads.”

In addition to playing fast and loose with routes, The GPS Lady has other personality quirks.  She is wont to lose patience with me. If I ignore her direction, she will issue the same exact instruction in a louder voice. I am not making this up. After the third time, in which the decibel level is deafening, if I am still defying her, she will go silent on me. To my knowledge, I have the only passive aggressive GPS Person I know of. She will only resume talking to me if I apologize. A friend of mine has a man in his GPS, with an English accent. He isn’t passive aggressive at all. Brits are so much more civilized.

My GPS will often tell me to make a right turn and then, after I do, she will tell me to make a U turn. She will ask me to make left turns on big, interstate highways. She will issue a scary warning like “Move to the left to avoid the area closed to vehicular traffic” when all I see is the road and cars and everything seems to be just fine. And lastly, she will chirp “You have arrived!” when I am still en route. I am afraid to tell her I haven’t technically arrived because I feel like she is doing the best she can do and I don’t want to let her down or have her yell at me.

For now, my GPS is what (who) I have and I am committed to her, until something better comes along (Don’t tell her I said that, please). I will await the next technological innovation from the Folks Who Bring Us Technological Innovations Faster Than We Can Learn To Use Them to Screw Ourselves Up. My trump card is always that I am a kind, inoffensive, older woman who I believe anyone would want to help. Oh, yes, I also have impeccable taste. That should count for something.


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