After my last drive down the Arizona street that landed me in Colorado, Stij decided that the time had come to install a GPS in the car.
“And what does GPS stand for? Go Park Somewhere?” I asked.
“In your case, most likely.”
“I think I’ll be cooking dinner tonight…”
“I take it back! I’m sorry!”
“That’s better. Now how do you work this thing?”
“You just turn it on and tell it your destination address. After you do that, it will tell you, turn by turn how to get there.”
“Wow, that’s great.”
“I hope it helps. I’ve got to get going if I’m going to make that meeting before 9:30, so I’ll see you later.” He jumped into the truck and left.
I was all alone with this new gadget, so I thought I’d try it out.
Three hours later, Stij walked in the door. “Do you hear shrieking outside? I hear shrieking.”
“Oh, that's just the GPS. It’s giving me turn by turn directions to Moscow. About now, I think it may be drowning in the Pacific Ocean.”
Stij sighed. “I’m going to go turn it off.” He opened the door and stepped outside, just as a police cruiser pulled up.
The police exited the vehicle with guns drawn. “Stop right there! Who’s doing all that screaming?”
“It’s the car—my wife tricked it into the Pacific Ocean.”
They lowered their guns. “Hey, your wife wouldn’t be Carson Buckingham, would she?”
While Stij turned the gurgling GPS off, one of the officers clicked on his shoulder radio. “We’re at the location. Everything’s under control. It’s Carson again.”
“Holy Mother of God, what’s that crazy bitch done now? She’s not cooking again, is she?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” He clicked it off again.
The other officer was about to re-holster his weapon, but instead held it out to Stij. “Sure you don’t want this?”
“Not today, thanks.”
They left shortly afterward.
When Stij came back inside, he said, “Your reputation is really starting to spin out of control around here.”
“Are you saying that it’s time to move again?”
“No. And by the way, you’re supposed to use the GPS while you’re driving so it can tell you where to turn. You don’t use it in the driveway.”
“But you didn’t say that.”
“That’s because I forget who I’m talking to, sometimes.”
“Okay, then I’ll take it out for a spin. Do you need me to pick up anything for you?”
“Let’s try Home Depot again,” he said, and gave me a list.
When I was sitting in the car, he leaned in the window and showed me another interesting feature of the GPS.
“You can have either a man’s voice or a woman’s voice giving you directions. You just press that button once for a man’s voice and twice for a woman’s.”
“Okay, I’m off. See you later.”
After I backed out of the driveway, I pushed the button twice, and getting no response, I pushed it again a few times. Finally, results.
Unfortunately, I now had both male and female voices giving me directions, and it went something like this:
Male: “Take your next left.”
Female: “Oh, don’t do that!”
Male: “It’s a short cut.”
Female: “I’ve been on your ‘shortcuts.’ Wanna see Albuquerque, sweetie—just follow his directions!”
Male: “Okay, now you missed the left you were supposed to take.”
Female: “She needs to turn around, then.”
Male: “She doesn’t need to turn around. I’ll plot a different route.”
Female: “Have you ever noticed how men never, ever turn around? Well, honey, if you go down about a mile and turn right, there’s this cute little dress shop…”
Male: “We’re going to Home Depot, goddammit!”
Well, you get the idea. This went on for quite some time. I finally had to call Stij.
“Hi. It’s me.”
“Are you planning on coming home tonight?”
“Eventually. I got lost again.”
“What? How is that possible?”
“Weeeeell, there was a problem with the GPS.”
“Where are you?”