“what the hell, evelyn? that wasn’t in your original plan.”

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-TURNU-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 feetphhh shhhdo 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.

Evelyn.

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. 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.

WRONG.

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.

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31 Responses to ““what the hell, evelyn? that wasn’t in your original plan.””


  1. 1 timidmouse September 11, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Your blog had me rolling. I thought I was the only one who had one sided conversations with my GPS. I haven’t named mine yet but I have been known to call it many not-so-nice words, especially after about the twentieth time of listening to it say, “Re-calculating”. Thanks for the laugh.

    • 2 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:16 pm

      timidmouse: No, I have them all the time. I even yell at Phoebe when she’s directing us home and I already know where we are. I’m all, “SHUT UP PHOEBE” and Tim’s all, “JUST TURN HER OFF AND SHE WILL SHUT UP.”

  2. 4 Chit Chat and Chai September 11, 2009 at 10:23 am

    haha i thought i was the only one who would name my gps, sometimes i feel like throwing it out the window, not to mention i feel like ive gotten stupider because of it, but no matter what i never learn I go back to using it every time…oh well

  3. 5 Linnnn September 11, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Just thought it was harmlessly quirky when he turned into a seething pile of aggressively horny man-sex when I said something about kangaroos in a faux Australian accent…

    Until I heard his GPS.

    I’m going to snuff that Olivia Newton John jezebel dashboard poser when he’s not looking!

    ; )

  4. 6 Daphne September 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Instead of trusting a GPS, I trust my iPhone with Google maps. We used it to get to our hotel for the wedding I attended last weekend. It took us RIGHT past the hotel (we even oohed and aahed at the building because the style was cool) a couple of miles down the road to a railroad crossing. Not even close. Then my brother in law said “Are we staying at the Sheraton? Because that one building was a Sheraton.” Yep. That would be it.

    Thanks for sharing. I love the names you picked for your GPS units. I can see them sitting in a lovely British garden drinking tea and plotting our demises.

    • 7 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

      Daphne: I use my iPhone, too…it just causes a whole different set of hazards while I’m driving…

      I don’t even know why we started picking British names…but it’s like, tradition now. And they’re all definitely plotting.

  5. 8 mrssoup September 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Ahahahahahaha!!

    My Mother-in-Law’s GPS is named Tina and she is psychotic. I don’t know what is in her head, but seriously….want to throw it out the window. It’s an idiot.

    And OMG I hear you about the changing the name thing! I waited for FOUR HOURS at the Social Security Office, only to be told that I had the wrong paperwork. No one told me that the application we filled out to get married is actually the marriage certificate! So I had brought the signed one.

    Then, went back and waited 3.5 hours with the real certificate and filled everything out. Processed, or so I thought.

    Found out when doing our taxes that it had not gone through. The paperwork got lost or something.

    Third times a charm, apparently.

    • 9 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm

      mrssoup: THREE TIMES? I don’t think I would have lasted. Someone would have had to go and restrain me when I went ape shit – there would be no maybe. It’d happen.

  6. 10 LiteralDan September 11, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I like you already! My Dad’s built-in GPS is named Charlotte, but we never actually named ours. We couldn’t decide, so it’s like little Picabo Street (the skier), nameless until she was forced to name herself as a preschooler.

    But still, this is all very familiar. I’ve had some success tweaking the settings, though, so I know when it’s trying to send me the shortest distance vs. the shortest time, avoiding certain things, etc. You might be able to rein her in a bit through similar settings.

    As for the SSA, we had the same problem trying to find it, and having it close in the middle of the afternoon. I think they deliberately make it a hard target to hit, like a portal to another dimension that appears at random points in thin air, and only for 15 minutes at a time.

    Except in this case, the magical world on the other side is a stupid line at some stale government office. At least they’re easier to leave than find.

    They must do all this nationwide to lower their workload so they can focus on preventing illegal immigrants and forgers from mooching off the system, or something. Keep the actual citizens in frustrated limbo, and logically it will scare away the criminals somehow!

    • 11 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

      LiteralDan: I think Evelyn is beyond tweaking. I’ve tried “Avoid Freeway” and where does she take me? The damn freeway. Shortest route versus fastest? SAME DAMN DIRECTIONS.

      I like your description of the SSA better than mine…I wouldn’t be surprised if I went back (no idea WHY I’d do that…), it wouldn’t be there. Government logic is like banging your head against a wall and then running into oncoming traffic while you’re still dazed.

  7. 12 Breeza September 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I think my gps and Evelyn are sisters! I use it sometimes but often I use the google map feature on my blackberry.

    • 13 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm

      Breeza: Yes, I’ve reverted to my iPhone…but that’s has not been the SAFEST option…my holding the phone, trying to follow the little dot on the map that is my car while actually driving on the road…

  8. 14 Jenera September 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    My husband is a truck driver so he uses his GPS daily and it’s always messing up. And his little ‘lady’ is a bitch. When she says ‘recalculating’ I just wanna slap the stupid thing.

  9. 16 Mindy@thesuburbanlife September 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    We don’t even own a GPS because I am still so pissed off at my brother and sister-in-law’s. Condescending little snooty b&@ch!!! The GPS and I got in a pretty serious argument on the way to Seattle one time and I haven’t quite gotten over it. I just don’t need that kind of negativity in my life…so I haven’t bit the bullet and purchased my own yet. In time, maybe.
    Thanks for the laughs!
    Mindy
    http://www.thesuburbanlife.com

  10. 18 romancingthestone September 11, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Hey there!Thanks for the wisdom. I still have my maiden name and was going to change it as a Christmas present to my new hubby. I’m finally officially his! I appreciate your insight. Thanks bunches for stopping m=by my blog. http://romancingthestone.wordpress.com. Best! M

    • 19 Jessica September 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm

      Hi M (can I call you that? “M?”) – A Christmas present? Wow. Had I said that, Tim would have been all, “I BOUGHT YOU THIS RING…YOU CHANGE YOUR DAMN NAME.”

      Actually, he probably wouldn’t have SAID that…but he probably would’ve thought it…

  11. 20 Elizabeth_K September 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Oh the Evelyn part is funny but the name change part is very, very scary, said the person who has her name different on her drivers license but not on her social security card. Perhaps I should take care of this while I still have a maiden name passport??!

  12. 22 heatherslalaland September 12, 2009 at 2:38 am

    I have a map for this. Yes I know it’s old fashioned but at least it’s correct! I check out the map if the place is far away, and suss out the best route, and for when I reach the city I don’t know I get directions from google street maps and note them down – all before I leave the house. For everything else I use my in-built GPS. You can’t beat the old brain for telling you which direction you need to be in. I can’t understand how people drive into rivers and stuff. I mean can they not see that this is clearly where they shouldn’t be heading? I’ve driven with sat nav, and although it’s been accurate each time, I just don’t like it.

    • 23 Jessica September 13, 2009 at 8:43 am

      Heather: I’ve started doing that…bringing a printed map with me…tends to be a lot more reliable…and accurate. As for those that drive into rivers – I think they’r convinced the gps is right and their eyes and sanity is wrong. way wrong.

  13. 24 darlingdamsel September 12, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Hahahaha

    (Pst … you should talk to my mom. She insists at every gas station she stops in that she has to go back in the direction she just came. She is what we call ‘directionally challenged’)

  14. 26 Belle September 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Everyone I know has such a love/hate relationship with their GPS! It’s hysterical. That bitch Evelyn and her diva moment…

  15. 28 Jac September 12, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    OMG! LOL!!!!
    Honestly though? I could just picture this being me and my husband. And I’m SO glad to hear we aren’t the only ones who get lost! (And my hubby is a truck driver, that’s a scary thought for you!)

    • 29 Jessica September 13, 2009 at 8:49 am

      Jac: No – you are definitely not alone. And yes – definitely scary that your husband’s directionaly challenged when part of his job is to MAKE IT TO A DESTINATION.

  16. 30 Julie September 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Jessica!
    Found you via the comment you left on my blog, and I am so glad you left that comment. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have sat here for who knows how long giggling. I can’t wait to read more.

    Oh, and my GPS’ name is Vivian. I think she may be the long lost sister of Evelyn. Viv just kind of loses interest I think, and all of a sudden she doesn’t know where we are.


  1. 1 the trots. they happen « booshy Trackback on November 27, 2009 at 11:05 am

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