Friday, April 17, 2009

My GPS thinks I'm an idiot

My mother and I drove to Baltimore on Sunday afternoon with my dad's GPS. He got it for Christmas. It was all he really wanted, as he is inexplicably drawn to electronic devices that talk.

My aunt and uncle bring small, cheap gifts for everyone at Easter. I got a plastic wind up chicken that walks and shits out gum balls. My dad got a key chain that records a short message and then plays it back louder and more obnoxious than it was originally spoken. He spent an hour recording ridiculous things like, "My key chain is cooler than that chicken," and then playing them into my mother's ear. She eventually wrestled it from him to record, "You're an idiot."

Somehow this ended with the two of them shamelessly canoodling on a corner of my grandmother's couch and me recording, "Remember back when mom was going through menopause and you two weren't really touching each other? Ahh, the good old days."

But I digress.

My mother and I drove to Baltimore on Sunday afternoon with my dad's GPS. Sitting in my parents' driveway, we plugged in our hotel's address. When we got to the stop sign at the end of the street, the GPS woman's voice yelled, TURN LEFT. We couldn't seem to figure out how to turn down the volume, so this was the start of six hours of an electronic woman screaming at us. There were several long stretches without turns when we would practically forget that we had the damn thing. Then she'd interrupt our otherwise pleasant conversation to yell, KEEP RIGHT, and we'd both jump and swear at her a little.

At one point, we stopped for gas. The GPS, noticing that we had veered from the prescribed route, screamed RECALCULATING... meaning it was going to come up with a way to get us to our destination even though we had gone off course. My mom said, "Oh, that reminds me. Did I ever tell you what happened when Grandma and Aunt Shirley used one of these?"

Grandma is my mom's mom, and she is crazy. Aunt Shirley is my grandma's sister, and she is bat shit crazy.

"First of all," I said, "who in their right mind would give Grandma one of these? The last thing that woman needs is a distraction while she's driving or an excuse to go anywhere she doesn't already know how to get to."

I say this because my grandma is an awful driver. Awful. The woman rolls down her window and hangs her head outside the car to look behind her as she backs out of her driveway. She whips back into the vehicle as she approaches the lamp post at the end, so as not to give herself a concussion. If you back out of her driveway, she'll warn you about it... "Be careful at the end there, honey. That lamp will take your head right off." If we could get the GPS to say, GET BACK IN THE CAR, that may be helpful. But, I think a device that simply yells KEEP RIGHT is only likely to distract her into driving RIGHT into a pedestrian or a pole.

My mom continued, "The GPS belongs to your Aunt Shirley, who, I imagine, drives about as well as your grandmother. Anyway, you know how neither of them listens to a word anyone says? Yes, well, this was no exception. They plugged in their destination, the GPS showed them the route, and they both immediately decided that just couldn't be right. It didn't look right. The woman in the little gray box must be mistaken. So, they went their own way, and the GPS said recalculating. Except, they never liked the looks of the route it recalculated, so they never followed it. The woman's voice kept saying recalculating. At one point, your Aunt Shirley leaned over and whispered to Grandma, 'You know, this happens to me all the time with this thing. I never follow the route, and then I worry a little that the GPS woman thinks I'm stupid.'"

Aunt Shirley is a therapist. People come to her for help.

I said, "Can't you just see it... A patient says to her, 'Sometimes I worry that people don't like me' and Shirley says, 'Oh, I know just how you feel. I'm afraid my GPS thinks I'm an idiot.'"

My mom and I laughed about this for several miles. The woman eventually interrupted us to suggest we EXIT LEFT. We wet ourselves a little and yelled STOP YOUR FUCKING SCREAMING. And then, we exited left. So as not to appear idiotic.


gitz said...


I just thought I should yell that at you in case you were missing the GPS lady.

Good God, I'm so glad to be using a loaner laptop that has enough power to at least leave comments. I've missed your blog like crazy. And I am SO freaking excited for you about Baltimore!

I loved every aspect of your family in this post and kept thinking about how much I would love to be at your house at Easter, but then I realized that I never have the right comeback when I need it. And since that seems to be the dominate form of communication for your family I have a feeling that, in order to spare my feelings, you all would refrain from telling me I'm an idiot. But you might send me out to the car for the GPS lady to do it for you.

I best just stick to the blog.

jenny said...

lol, good post, enjoyed that especially after we drove back from camping today, looong detour as the main road was closed by an accident, we thought we could take the tiny country lanes but everyone else thought so too, at one point the road was blocked again by two caravans, we ended up driving in the opposite direction from home just to try and get past all the obstructions! I was the GPS using a really old map that was so vague, good job I can read maps and my dad has a sense of humour...!

kate g said...

Laughed so hard I have tears streaming down my face.

Seriously. And I completely needed that at the end of this week.

Thanks :)

☆Susan☆ said...

FAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! This is awesome! I laughed so hard that I might have wet my pants. Maybe. And then I read it aloud to Justin and laughed some more.

Anonymous said...

I had the same issue with my GPS. You can't win with them.

MmeBenaut said...

Hee hee hee. What a fun family you have. And you've given me hope that post-menopause, there might be some canoodling :) Being in the midst of it right now, I fear I'm as bat shit crazy as Grandma's sister.

dive said...

Thank you for making my weekend, T.
What a marvellous story.
When I grow up I want to be a batshit crazy old woman.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love it. Aunt Shirley the therapist. Ha! She's worried that a machine thinks she's stupid, and she helps other people with their self-esteem issues? Hee hee heee heeeeeee. Love it.

Maria said...

I am scared of our GPS. There. I said it. I have this fear that one day when I am alone in the car, she will say, "Maria? Is that you? Well, now. We need to have a talk. That green shirt you have on is just....butt ugly and I simply don't like you. I have spoken to the car and it doesn't like you either. So, if those brakes are feeling spongy....."

And then she laughs a wicked, cackley ass laugh. There. I just went and scared myself. Seriously.

Eric said...

That's too funny, reminded me of my grandma.