Friday, September 30, 2011

GPSing Me Off.

I get lost a lot. I don't completely lack a sense of direction, if someone gives me good guidance I can generally figure out where to go. However, in the case of faulty directions where instinct is concerned I will without fail always make a left when I am supposed to go right. Needless to say the invention the GPS has helped me greatly. No longer do I have to ask "How many streets past the McDonalds is the freeway again?" Generally speaking if the location I am going to is a hour away I can leave an hour and a half in advance and make it there on time.

 Of course GPS's still have some quirks. I'm sure that many of you out there in Internet land have had a run in with a prankster GPS one that waits until the last second to tell you to turn or one that prompts you every 12 seconds to "stay left" while driving for 300 miles on the freeway. I recall one time driving out in the middle of cattle country in search of Dairy Queen. After 30 miles of hills and trees I came upon a faded sign trapped in the beams of my headlights that read "The Dairy Queen Dairy Farms."

The most annoying problem that I have with my GPS is that it is a source of isolation during a road trip. Every time that my wife and I are going anywhere new we must sit perfectly quiet and wait for the monotone computer lady to incorrectly pronounce what street we are supposed to turn on to. We've tried to have conversations only to have "Samantha" (we've named her) barge in with the proclamation: "KEEP LEFT!". Often we  have tried to predict when she is going to speak and have adjusted and paused over conversations mid sentence only to be met by Samantha's dead silence. When we finally decide that she is going to be quiet we try to start talking only to hear her bark: "RECALCULATING!" 

Perhaps it is just me but I find the cold quiet confidence with which Samantha delivers instructions to be unnerving. I need a human connection app for my GPS something to make the driving experience a little more comfortable. How about a GPS with a passive aggressive personality? Every once in a while I decide to turn left or right preemptively without my GPS's endorsement. I have a crazy mental misfire that screams at me "Turn now! the GPS is broken!!! You're going to miss your exit!!" So I turn. Predictably my GPS calmly states "Make the next available U-turn." A real life navigator would say "Why the hell did you turn? Did I tell you to turn? I don't even know why you gave me the map because obviously you seem to think you know where you are going."

How about a change in pitch and urgency of the GPS voice as you get closer toward missing your exit such as: "Turn now...TURN NOW!!! NOW NOW NOW!!! TURN TURN TURN!!! DON'T MISS THE FREAKING EXIT AGAIN YOU DOLT!" However all I ever get back from Samantha is a direct and pleasant reminder: "In 0.4 miles turn right." Samantha doesn't care about my gross driving errors in fact she plays off my mistakes like a brown nosing corporate yes man whose only purpose is to serve me and bolster my ego. Well Samantha, I'll have you know that I am far too paranoid to be fooled by your tricks. Anything that appears too honest is dirty underneath and YOU Samantha and your squeaky clean exterior aren't going to push any secret agenda on me. From now on every time you tell me to turn right I'm going to turn left OR MAYBE I'll turn right you'll never pin me down Samantha!!!


  1. i love your new page drone! especially the heading.

    we have a neighbouring city that my gps doesn't work for.

    i have to use old fashioned directions from the person living in the boonies for that.

  2. I never know my left from my right. If I'm in someone's car giving directions I tell them go with the hand. If I'm pointing one way and my mouth says the other it's the hand that's right.

    If I had a sat nav...or a car to put one in..I would no doubt end up arguing with it.

  3. My navigation skills have significantly decreased since I started using the GPS on my iPhone. Partially because I am relying on the computer instead of myself and partially because every time I look at the map I drive off the road.

    Good luck with your navigation woes. Do you still visit Bessie?

  4. Because of my ADD, I cannot remember any directions ever, so I rely way too much on my GPS. I think it hates me. It's only a matter of time before Skynet becomes self-aware and my GPS sends me off of the nearest cliff. "Recalculating..."