When I was married, I was the co-pilot. I took my job seriously and mapped out our trip and knew the directions. I was on call the entire trip. I never failed. The atlas was my friend. It also helped that I was an atlas nerd. Ever since I was little, I would just sit and look at maps. The state of Washington always fascinated me for some reason. Probably the Puget Sound. (See, such a nerd) But, I would follow the route, town by town, and kept my finger on our exact location. I was also like a true co-pilot because he drove like Mr. Magoo (previous blog). For some reason I didn’t get car sick looking at a map. Reading words made me sick, but not looking down at a map. I’m quite a gem.
Anywho, I took my yellow highlighter and marked the route and we were on our merry way.
Then came along the internet and I was replaced by MapQuest. Mapquest was great, calculating how long it would take to reach our destination and the total mileage. I would just say, “We’ll get there when we get there.” If he wanted a better answer, he had to figure it out for himself. Mapquest also had options…fastest route and shortest route. I still really don’t understand this. Would people pick the shortest route to save wear and tear on their car? Wouldn’t shorter equate fastest ? I don’t get it.
Sometimes Mapquest had to be tweaked and sometimes it wanted to take me on a stupid route. There are many ways to Myrtle Beach, for example. We went through Charlotte with mapquest the first time. That trip sucked. Millions of stop lights…So, I decided to buy a new atlas each year as a back-up. After all, deep down I didn’t trust technology over the ultimate co-pilot.
Now that I am divorced, I no longer co-pilot. And I have realized something. I get mad if I miss an exit or I get lost. I mean, like, really mad. Adam Sandler mad. I found that out when I had to take Alex to the Japanese Embassy in Washington,DC last summer. Mapquest failed me miserably. We were running late for her interview (we were 20 minutes early, but in my mind that is late) and I got lost. We only had to go over 2 blocks, and I got lost. I lost my mind.
We stopped and asked some guy who was walking and I drove off while he was giving directions to Alex. I mean, if you have to hesitate, look up in the air like you can sniff out the right direction, and then look to the right and left like you, yourself aren’t sure where you are, then you weren’t the right guy to show us the way. So, I just drove off while he was still talking..Alex was quite mad at me. “Mom, that was REALLY rude.” You know, whatever. “He didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, Alex. It’s not like you are going to see him again.”
After the 3 trips to the Japanese embassy and 2 trips to Dulles airport in the last year, you would think I would own a GPS. No one ever mentioned that to me. “Hey, Vickie, you should buy a GPS.” Not until this summer when I was planning a trip with a friend (now former friend) to Myrtle Beach. I was worried because I knew she would suck as a co-pilot. And I would get mad when we missed an exit. And have to put her in the back seat so the atlas could sit in the passenger seat. A facebook friend who also knew my scattered former friend suggested a GPS.
Well, my former friend brought her daughter’s GPS on the trip and it was ok. Stupid former friend couldn’t figure out the volume control, so I jumped each time she spoke. It was really loud, and she was British. “Enter the motorway.” Motorway?? Um…ok…I finally said, “There has got to be a little icon for the volume.” And she replied. “An icon?” Ok, she didn’t know what an icon was. Shit, this was going to be a long week. “The little picture that means volume. Maybe you should call your daughter.” “It’s only 9:00. She is probably still sleeping.” …Thank goodness she couldn’t see my eyes rolling behind my Foster Grants..”She is young, she will get over it. We are old and I am ready to throw the thing out the window.” So, she called her daughter, who told her where the volume control icon was. Sigh.
So, I thought it was time for me to break down a purchase a GPS. I went to Best Buy and looked at the features, and bought a Magellan Roadmate.
My son, Adam, installed the Magellan and I immediately decided to call her Maggie. I realize Madge is a better fit, but I can do what I want. It was fantastic on the way to Myrtle. It took me on four lane back roads I had never seen before (Route 38). How wonderful she was! You go, girl!! She could even tell me how close the next gas station was and what restaurants were near-by. What an invention!! I congratulated her often. She let me know 2 miles before my exit and told me what lane I needed to be in. And at the exit there was a little ding to know this was it. Just marvelous.
It was a different story on the way home. Adam plugged in the information and must have pressed fastest route instead of shortest route. (Which again, I don’t understand). But, I wanted to go home the way I came. She wanted to me travel on Interstate 95 for awhile. Well, Maggie, you are the boss. You must know what you are doing…
Well, she didn’t. They must have changed exit numbers while she was being manufactured or something, and when I didn’t get off the exit she wanted me to, because it didn’t exist, she got confused. Like Rosie the Robot on the Jetson’s confused. Or “That does not compute, Will Robinson” on Lost in Space confused. Maggie had burnt a fuse.
She tried to get me to turn around, but I knew where I was going. I thought that GPS systems were supposed to find the altered route and then find directions from there. Then she told me to get off the next exit, “Little Chicken Road.” Adam laughed. “Maggie is confused.” There was no Little Chicken Road or McDonald Road, but I felt like I was near a farm. Finally, after 15 minutes, she was able to locate out precise location.
All in all, it was a great purchase. I am taking my daughter, Alex, to the French Embassy in Washington DC for her to get a visa for her next adventure abroad. I hope Maggie will get us there so we won’t have to find that same guy to ask for directions.