A Bad Route for Technology

Last week, my husband did something so unthinkable, so mind-boggling, so utterly shocking and so unlike him that, initially, I wondered if it was one of those end-of-world signs like locusts and famines and dogs doing the naughty thing with cats: he purchased a GPS. (Insert scary da-duh-DUM! music here.)

Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this news. At the very least, it bewilders me. Rick was born with an internal GPS; he’s adept at finding anyplace he’s ever been to, dating straight back to the birth canal. If someone ever blindfolded and tossed him into a car trunk in the dead of night and drove him to a remote location where street signs were banned and it was illegal to give out directions, Rick would find his way back there time and again without ever stopping at a single gas station. It’s an extraordinary gift. So why would he need a GPS? Were his super-power geo-location sensors waning, thus forcing him to compensate via technology like the rest of us mere mortals? Was it just coincidence that this horrifying event was syncing with the end of the Mayan Calendar? Should I be stocking canned food and bottled water???

Actually, I’m thinking that his Geo-Location gene was temporarily beaten up and overtaken by his Gadget gene. A boys-and-their-toys thing. Oh well…

So now we have a GPS in our car. A very, very low-tech car that has no cell phone mount, bluetooth speakers, speed detector, satellite radio or heated seats –  not even automatic transmission, for that matter. A car that rarely drives any further than 40 minutes from its own driveway and yet holds about 237 maps, each folded incorrectly. Go figure.

Don’t get me wrong: I can certainly see the usefulness of a GPS (it’s widely known, for example, that both Frodo Baggins and Dorothy Gale would have largely benefited). But in our little corner of New Hampshire, it really isn’t necessary. In these parts, all small roads lead to slightly larger (paved) roads, which bleed into streets (many of which have signs) and then finally end up on one of two state roads – both of which have a gas station every 2 or 30 miles. Otherwise, you can stop just about anywhere to ask for directions, since people are real friendly.  Why, I remember the very first time we got lost and stopped someone. A nice, elderly man stood in front of his house listening to our query and then pointed down the road, asking  do ya know wheah Mike Duquette’s old bahn used ta be? When we shook our heads in unison, he responded well, if ya did, that’s wheah you’d be tuhning left…

Alright, maybe a GPS isn’t such a bad idea after all.

So I conceded to Rick’s newest teckie fix and off we went for a test drive.  We keyed in several destinations and followed most of the instructions – but ignored the ‘turn right here’ order a few times just to see how it would compensate. I was consistently impressed with its accuracy on our backcountry roads.

But after only a few minutes of driving, the bloom was off the rose. At first I enabled the audio-only option because that screen was mildly distracting and I nearly wound up driving into oncoming traffic. Then after the display was turned off, the sound of that voice started driving me nuts. Turn left in 500 feet. Turn left here. Turn left here. HERE! Turn left here!!!! Shut up, SHUT UP, you know-it-all bitch or I’ll give you directions straight to hell and help you get there damned freaking fast! I’m telling you, between me screaming at her and her screaming at me, it’s a wonder Rick didn’t open the door and toss us both out.

The only part of the ride that was not agitating was the drive up our road, when the screen displayed our car (which looked nothing like our car, by the way) running over our house (click HERE to see the absurd video). Now, I have no idea if all GPS devices head straight for, smash into and then drive straight over their destinations… but if they do, a few sound effects would make the viewing far more entertaining.

Actually, there are lots more options that would make this GPS far more fun – and helpful:

ACCENTS. I know many models have this option (British, for example), but a bit of that Brit smugness incorporated into the lingo could help take the edge off those orders this device belts out: I say old bean, head left after the circle and you’ll be spot on! Personally, I’d feel better taking directions if my GPS had a Boston accent: ya missed the tuhn, ya wicked basstid! Now bang a yoo-ie heah…

ADVICE. Girls, if your husband is actually listening to a woman’s voice giving him directions, then these devices need to be programmed to provide other types of instructions as well: you’ll be in this traffic for approximately 20 minutes, Dave, so here are a few YouTube videos I found on the perfecting the art of foreplay…

REMINDERS. Turn left at this jewelry store, Dave, so you can purchase Maryann something special for your anniversary tomorrow… Head right over to that grocery store, Dave – you’re very low on milk…

EDUCATION. Turn right onto Sycamore Street. By the way, the word for STREET in Spanish is carretera, Dave… repeat after me: CAH-RAY-TAY-RAH…

MONITORING. The speed limit here is only 35, Dave. Are you in need of a gas station? You appear to be driving erratically, Dave – have you been drinking with those bumass friends of yours again? Maryann is trying to reach you, Dave… shall I inform her of your actual location here at Lucky Harry’s Steak and Strip, instead of where you told her you’d be?

On second thought, nix that last suggestion. Justifiably, Dave would unplug the bitch and stuff her in the glove compartment, where she’d be condemned to live out her final days wedged between expired registration cards, a wad of old MacDonalds napkins and melted lollypops.

Yup. Giving the GPS a dose of PMS would clearly be a bad route. Best that this little gizmo sticks to providing directions. Of only the geographical type…





  1. I use the gps in my phone but it’s just as annoying. I prefer to get the overview then shut her up. I do like some of your ideas to make it more entertaining tho!

  2. We call our GPS Lola like in the movie RV and the kids get a total kick out of it; especially when we are driving and we say ‘ok Lola, we got it’ 🙂 It makes them laugh!

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