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Are we there yet? No, we’re recalculating

Submitted by on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 No Comment

I’m probably the last geek on Earth to own a GPS device, which is funny because the technology was invented with people like me in mind.

The guys don’t say, “Are we there yet?” They ask, “Are we lost yet?” I spent a week after we moved to Fort Irwin making wrong turns and taking twice as long to get places – fortunately, “twice as long” is only 20 minutes.

Still, if you’ve ever been to our cozy, compact little desert oasis that’s side-splittingly laughable. Lost at Fort Irwin? How the heck?

Believe me, it takes talent – or lack thereof. I’m what’s known not-so-affectionately back home as an “educated idiot.” Good with the books, not so much on the streets. Any street, no matter how small. It’s not like the guy thing, where they refuse to ask for directions. I’ll ask for directions all right, but promptly become misdirected again 90 seconds later.

Given all that, it defies logic that it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I took the GPS plunge. “I don’t go anywhere very often,” I rationalized. “I can get by on Google Maps.”

A pending – more like, looming – trip to Los Angeles convinced me. That city’s my personal Waterloo. The traffic. The confusing and shifting street alignments. The maze of freeways. The traffic.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why it’s so terrifying. What’s the worst that could happen? A month-long hospital stay – been there, done that. A totaled car and skyrocketing insurance – survived that, too.

And being lost and confused tends to turn me into a raving maniac. “Now, be quiet guys! I’m coming up on a turn and I need to concentrate,” I’ll chirp. That’s followed minutes later by, “could you please hush,” which within seconds devolves to “Shut the heck up I am STRESSED up to my ears.”

To make it worse, we were headed to Dodger Stadium, a destination my husband and I have never managed to make it to on time in our lives. Not that anyone else noticed. We are talking about Dodger fans, who traditionally show up in the third inning and leave in the sixth.

Fine. I’ll buy the GPS.

It turns out that the GPS doesn’t keep me from getting lost at all. In fact, at times it’s caused me to get lost, such as when it first directed us to an employee entrance and then to a closed street near the USC campus.

It does, however, help me get back on track with minimal tantrums. I don’t have to try to look at a printout as I’m driving or stop and study a map. I can simply listen to the endless chant of “recalculating” as I keep going in circles until I eventually wind up in the right place.

It’s created a whole new dialog in the car. Used to be, I’d blast out a “dang it” – or something more profane – and the guys would ask if I’d gotten lost again.

These days, Big Guy will whisper “recalculating” just second before the GPS rats me out.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.


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