Saturday, September 3, 2011

Travels with Giselle, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the GPS

“Honey, I-5 is right over there! See?”
“I paid for this thing and I’m going to use it!”
I clench my fists in frustration. I have the map right in front of me. I know exactly how to get there. But here we sit in the motel parking lot while he fusses and cusses at that obstreperous gadget he’s named Giselle.

Granted, a manual from the car rental agent would’ve been nice. And, granted, a GPS app on Miranda’s cell totally saved us in New Jersey last May. But right now I’m ready to chuck it full force into the street to which it’s pointing. As if that street was anywhere near us. Husband notices.

“Look, I brought you all the way up here for your birthday, spent all this money, and all you do is complain!”

Realizing he’s building up for a ten-minute tirade, I quickly backtrack, reassure him of my undying gratitude, and pull a paperback copy of Where Eagles Dare from my bag. Five minutes later I hear Giselle’s dulcet tones: “Please fasten seat belts.” We did that ages ago. “Drive to highlighted route.”

I glance over but see nothing but a fat green arrow on an otherwise blank screen. Not wishing to escalate either his ire or mine, I calmly return to my book. Too late.

What highlighted route?” Husband thunders.
“Dear, just turn left onto Pine, right onto Hewitt, and the I-5 ramp is less than a block away.”

Big mistake. The explosion that just caught Alistair MacLean’s heroes pales beside Husband’s. Giselle was supposed to say that! Why can’t I leave him alone? Why am I always so negative?

Finally I understand. Giselle is a man-toy. And men are Über-serious about high-tech toys. Any hint of disparagement from a female can fling a normally equitable man into a towering rage.

Unfortunately, Giselle also aggravates the male ego. The problem, of course, is that the voice is female. No man wants a woman telling him where to go.  For example, when we returned from our outing she clearly and correctly told him to exit on Pacific Avenue. He decided not to.
He ignored her again. He would do it his way – here in a neck of the woods where we’ve never been before.
I had the map in my lap, but by now I knew to keep my mouth shut.
Eventually, after an extensive tour of Everett, WA, we did end up on Pacific Ave.
“In .2 miles, turn left at motel.”
 Which would’ve taken us to the Holiday Inn. Happily, Husband turned right into the Best Western where we were staying. Even after we more or less learned how to use her, Giselle did her level best to take us to the Holiday Inn.

So…would I ever want a GPS of our own?

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