Where Am I?
I have two big regrets in life. One is that I wish I had been born into a very wealthy family. Make that an exceptionally filthy rich family. Second, I wish I had inherited a sense of direction. I don’t mean a better sense of direction; I mean any sense at all. I can sum up my inability to find my way around in one word: it sucks. (OK, that’s two words; I have trouble with numbers too.) I’ve literally gotten lost going around the block. Not something to be proud of.
Let me give you an example. If left to my own devices, I would likely drive from DC to NY via LA. I’m not joking. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but only a slight one. I have on many occasions followed the sage advice of that great American philosopher, Yogi Berra: “When you find a fork in the road, take it.” That’s me. A veritable fork in the road. No matter which way I turn, it seems to be the wrong way.
I know what you’re thinking. Thank God for a GPS, right? Well, that certainly is a big help, assuming I use it. You see, there is another problem. I, like most red-blooded baby boomer guys, hate to ask for directions—even from obnoxious mechanical devices. And you think you have problems.
GPS obviously stands for “Getting People Stupid.” We now rely on that simple driving aid to get us everywhere. We don’t have to think; we just blindly follow its prompts. It could be directing us to hell, and we would never know until it’s too late. At least in ancient times, some of us could get a level of satisfaction from following a map. Remember maps? They were those handy little brochures, which when unfolded could double as winter blankets. Not only that, they would cause lots of accidents by blinding drivers, as the maps enveloped them in massive sheets of paper. However, the real challenge was to find a way, once opened, to properly fold maps back into their nice little cases. Not possible for any human. I’m guessing that lab rats would have no trouble.
My GPS lady is rather unkind and impatient with me. I grow rather weary of her saying: “Turn around, you idiot. You’re going the wrong way.” My response is often to suggest she tell me something I don’t know. Pointing out that I’m lost is not news to me. It’s her raised voice and choice of graphically descriptive words that particularly offend me. She often says things like, “Hey stupid, are you paying any attention to me?” Or “Why do I waste my time with assholes like you?” That’s offensive, right? How about some calm, constructive criticism? I do get some joy, however, when on a few rare (very rare) occasions, I do know where I’m going, and her map has not been updated with new roads. As she’s yelling at me, her picture has me driving through someone’s front lawn, knocking down trees and careening though streams and rivers. I so enjoy life’s little pleasures. Take that, you nasty woman!
My only request is to have a nice, nurturing voice gently guide me as I drive. No one has to constantly remind me how stupid I am, as I’m well acquainted with that fact. However, with today’s modern technology, it would be wonderful to have a voice in my car lying through her teeth. I can hear it now: “My, you have such incredible driving skills. And you certainly look very handsome today. Well, actually, every day.” Is that too much to ask?