Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One GPS At A Time!

I have a terrible sense of direction.  I admit it.

Along with acknowledging this defect, I have also become very good at stopping and asking for directions.  Yes, I know it goes against all things male and I'm sorry to anyone that it offends, but when I get home and my wife asks, "Did you stop and ask for directions," I can state that I did.  Of course, I usually have to follow up with the fact that I forget what they told me or didn't write it down and I got lost anyway, but I have acquiesced to getting help.

My wife has a great sense of direction.  We can be out of state, on a highway without any sign of signs for miles and she'll say, "Why are we going West when we should be going North."  I look at her, knowing she knows what she's talking about.  My answer is always the same, "I don't know."  I've also taken to saying, "I don't know," a lot.  Might as well give it up.  After 30 years of marriage you have pick your battles and we all know I don't know where I am....at any time.

Knowing that I could end up in Connecticut just going out for a gallon of milk, my wife bought me a GPS for Christmas several years ago.  I do use it.  It helps me get out of the driveway (I have been known to get lost real close to home) and has gotten me to faraway places.

The voice on my GPS is female and I set it's language function as English.  The "real" English, with British accent and all.  And, she has a name.  Samantha.

Samantha is very good at giving directions.  She is very polite and gives gentle suggestions.  "Turn at the next right in 300 feet."  She knows I can get lost in 300 feet, so soon I hear, "Turn in 200 feet."  I'm on track.  "Turn in 100 feet."  Such comfort, I'm doing good.  Should I get past the point where I should have turned (and after all of that how that happens I'm not sure, but it does), I hear, "Make a U-turn as soon as possible."  Very nice, very British, very informative.  Then, she'll recalculate the route, without saying a word, and we're back on track with directions in no time flat.

When we set off to travel together, I'll ask my wife if I should bring the GPS and most times she'll say, "No."  I don't make a big deal out of it because my wife, as I mentioned before, has a great sense of direction and she likes "old fashioned" stuff...maps.

Should we get to a point where she questions our position, out comes the maps and all of a sudden she's like Lewis and Clark.

Somehow, using the maps, stars, sun, and a part of a windshield wiper, she'll soon state, "I know where we are, take the next right, go over the cloverleaf, through the second tunnel, and turn before the tow bridge and we'll be right where we need to be."  Whew...it's like she has a gyroscope in her...and I've learned to listen, as she knows what she's doing.

I've also learned something else...two women in the car giving directions, not good.

I made the mistake of taking the GPS, Samantha, with us on a recent trip.  I thought it would be good to have her with us, just for backup.

My wife could relax and not have to spend her time channeling Sacajawea.

Heading down the highway, I put on my directional signal to take the ramp towards the Thruway.

"Why are you going that way," asked my wife?

I replied, "Samantha said to take the turn so we can go on the Thruway."

"Why do you want to take the Thruway," she asked?  "I want to take a few back roads.  Keep going straight."

"Okay," said I.  Samantha detected the change and within a few seconds recalculated and seemed content to proceed straight ahead.

We were taking in the scenery, all was going well, and then the "coo" from Samantha.  "10 miles to Route 14."  That awakened my wife to our route.

"Route 14, why are we taking Route 14," she queried?

"Um," I said defensively, "Samantha thinks we should go that way."

"Samantha doesn't know everything," she noted.  "Let me get out my maps...yep, here it is, let's take Route 18, go past the turn for 14, go seven miles, take the over-ramp to the under-ramp and follow signs to Worcestershire.  It'll be a nicer ride, through some towns...we'll see some local stuff.  Maybe there's a store we'll see that we want to stop at."

I knew this wasn't going to sit well with Samantha.  It didn't.  Route 14 approaching, "Turn in 300 feet...200 feet...100 feet." Yep, here it comes, "Make a U-turn as soon as possible."

Samantha somehow couldn't recalculate this one.  I had a feeling that was going to happen.  "Make a U-turn as soon as possible," was repeated.  About ten times.

My wife had just said, "Can't you turn that thing off," when Samantha gave in to the inevitable and seemingly made a noise (I'm sure I heard her groan), and then recalculated.  And, just to make a point she added 100 miles to the distance counter on her display screen.  Sort of like her sticking her tongue out at us!

About ten minutes away from arriving at our destination, Samantha, who had been unusually quiet for a while, and I knew she was upset, noted tersely, "Destination in  500 feet."

"What," asked my wife?  "We're miles away."

"I don't know," I said as I should have.  "Samantha seems to think that we've arrived."

"Who are you going to listen to," from my wife?  "Me or Samantha?"

As I turned Samantha off, I glanced at my wife and said, "You, of course."

Then, as I turned into the drive just 200 feet ahead, where the neon lit sign for our destination appeared way too soon, I knew what to say next...nothing!

Now, each time my wife and I travel together, we get to our destination via her efforts.
Samantha gets a vacation...she stays in the drawer at home. It's better that way!  One GPS in the car, at any time, is enough!


  1. We call our GPS Betty. She tends to wait until the last possible second to announce a turn, probably because we often make her recalculate.

  2. GPS systems are going to take over the world! And, they know how to get there!