We name our GPS systems. We like give them hoity toity, “would you like a spot of tea?” type names.
The one in Tim’s old car was Jeffrey. Polite ol’ Jeffrey…who’d only get slightly more stern and irritable when you repeatedly neglected to follow his directions…”make a U-turn…make a U-TURN…U-TURN…IF POSSIBLE.”
Then Tim got a new car and the male robot sounded like Darth Vader, all, “phhh sshhh…phhh sshh… turn left in exactly five hundred feet…phhh shhh…do not deviate…” and I was not taking directions from a voice sounding like they were going to lop off my head with a hidden dashboard light saber if I got lost all, “that was just a warning.”
So we use the girl robot. Her name’s Phoebe. So far, Phoebe’s been fairly complacent…but we haven’t gotten like, dumb-ass lost yet where we’re turning around every twenty feet with her making the I’m-about-to-speak-so-shut-the-hell-up ‘ding’ every five seconds and then yelling through the speakers, “U-TURN, U-TURN! DAMMIT! I SAID U-TURN…NOT TURN AROUND!..oh fuck…fine…recalculating…”
Then there’s the one in my car.
I have no idea what kind of logic they decided to use for her little brain but it is ass backwards. I now only use her if I have some crazy desire to get hopelessly lost to the point I have to call Tim and ask him to help me get home.
I stopped trusting her “directions” after it took me two separate trips just to LOCATE the Social Security Office so I could participate in the circus that was legally changing my last name.
And I learned if you don’t do things in just such an order – you’re screwed and end up a half breed – part maiden, part married – nothing will ever match.
I made the mistake of changing my drivers license BEFORE my changing my social security card.
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
It’s not like the courthouse hands you a “Congratulations! You’re married! Change your documents in this order or you’re screwed” pamphlet. You’re left to make your own decisions…and I figured I’d get pulled over before I had to present my card with the 9-digit number, so…DRIVERS LICENSE GOES FIRST.
The realization that I had updated my name on my drivers license before my social security card made the little, wrinkled government man behind the counter begin to shuffle papers and stammer, “You…you can’t do that.”
Why the hell not? No…you know what? First, let me just get something off my chest. YOU CLOSE AT TWO-DAMN-THIRTY in the afternoon and your published address results in gps systems dumping people into a big open, empty field ten miles away, full of cows – and cows weren’t exactly the kind of government office I was looking for. And a name’s a name…and MY NAME CHANGED…it’s right here, on your DAMN GOVERNMENT ISSUED DOCUMENT.
So then he goes, “I cannot accept a marriage certificate. Do you have another drivers license?”
!#$%@@!# and isn’t that like, illegal?
So I listened to him go down the list of acceptable documents: Greencard? No. Military ID? No. Border Crossing Card? What the hell? Passport? Now…we’re on to something.
Thank God for a passport in my maiden name. That was my only saving grace. The one happenstance loophole.
Anyhow, that was probably another story for another time…so back to Evelyn: I popped in the social security office address, cause I had no idea where I was going (yes, we all know I found it, but whatever – just go with it).
At this point in our relationship, I trusted Evelyn. I had faith that she would take me where I wanted to go.
I jump on the highway and start driving.
She tells me I’ve got one hour to my destination.
Five minutes later, we come up on an exit and she’s all, “Exit in three hundred feet. Exit. Now.”
I look at her little green map face on the dashboard all, What the hell, Evelyn? That wasn’t in your original plan…nor is that even going in the right direction… but your job is to get me where I need to go, and I get lost in my own neighborhood, which is why I’ve got you.
So I get off on the exit and I continue to follow her left turns and right turns…I think we even had a round-a-bout in there somewhere. Soon, I’m driving through pastures on a little two lane road…seeing signs for towns that I know are hours from where I’m supposed to be.
But I continued to follow Evelyn…I thought she knew what she was doing, even after she had me turn down thirty more roads and pass through fifteen small towns.
One hour…my ass, Evelyn. THREE HOURS LATER I finally see something familiar.
The moment I realized Evelyn had taken me in the biggest possible damn circle, I lost all control of my sanity and started having a one-sided conversation with her: “What’s so bad about a straight line, Evelyn? Really? It’s too difficult, Evelyn? Yes, let’s instead go ALL THE WAY AROUND, just for shits and giggles.”
Then Evelyn decided she was going to have a diva moment and COULDN’T LOCATE THE DESTINATION ADDRESS.
Our relationship ended, right there.
It has since taken me four years, but I’ve finally figured out her logic and we’ve reached a mutual understanding.
In her brain, she decides that the FIRST road or street or path she deems as passable and will get you to your destination is the way we’re going. Efficiency doesn’t matter. She wasn’t programmed with the “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line” formula.
At one point, I was driving and could SEE MY DESTINATION about fifty feet in front of me and then she dinged all, “turn left in in twenty five feet.”
What she fails to mention in her directions is that her way requires you to drive ten miles and then make three right turns so you eventually come out on the same damn road you’re already on, only facing the OTHER DIRECTION.
So I didn’t turn. I kept going and pulled right into the parking lot.
And then she got this bitchy voice all, “cannot recalculate…”
No shit, Evelyn.