Hey, guess what? I just got home from the store, with a new Garmin Drive Assist 51 LMTS-1 GPS, advanced navigational system. I’m told it has a built-in dash cam, advanced driver alerts such as forward collision warning, a 5.0-inch capacitive touch, pinch-to-zoom display, and detailed maps of North America with free lifetimes updates. Add to that, real-time services such as traffic and weather reports, and live view parking availability information as you approach your destination, and I may never get lost again! Well, to be honest; I’ll probably still get lost. On the bright side – I’ll have this amazing, talking, computerized marvel to keep me company.
Now, if I can just get thissss….. uhhhhh….., darn box open. Sorry. Just a second, while I get my wife. “Honey, can you come help me open this box? If you don’t mind, could you please find the scissors, a box cutter, our hedge clippers, and my new ax. Oh, and bring Adam along. If I ever get this thing open, I’m going to need you and our sons formidable, combined brain capacity to put this thing together, figure out how it works, program it, get it installed in our car, and teach me how to use it.”
I know what you’re all thinking. Why, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a sophisticated, and technologically advanced global positioning system, doesn’t this guy just use his “Smart Phone?” Didn’t you read my post a few weeks ago called, “Smarter than Me Phones?” I can barely turn the stupid thing on, let alone find, download, and use some incredibly complex navigational App.
I’m not even sure, I need a GPS. I figure, if I ever get lost; I have the always dependable and convenient, “MILIBS” Navigational System. It’s more commonly called, “The Mother-in-Law in Back Seat,” directional finder. No matter where I go, she always seems to be sitting in the back seat, and do you know what? I’ve known her for almost twenty-five years, and according to her – she’s never been wrong. I learned a long time ago to let her have her way. If she tells me to turn left, when I know I need to go right, I just turn left.
This happened a few months ago on a Florida vacation. I turned left, and a few moments later, I pulled her and my wife out of our slightly damp SUV, before it slowly sank to the bottom of a deep and murky swamp. I then proceeded to fight off two or three hungry alligators with a tire iron, while swiftly dragging them both to dry land. I then jumped back in, swam to the partially submerged vehicle, kicked myself free from an alligator clinging to my foot, and retrieved my cooler from the back seat. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I figured that after calling a towing company, talking to the police, and filling out all those accident reports – I’m was going to need a few of those icy-cold beers.
I know, I just bought a sophisticated device to help me find my way, but to be perfectly honest; Sometimes, I want to be lost! After a long vacation with my mother-in-law, I don’t want some complicated, futuristic computer with a disembodied voice, telling me to turn left into her driveway. Heck, I may just slow down, push her out the door, watch her roll onto her lawn, hit the gas, wave goodbye, and head west at ninety miles per hour, until I either run out of gas, or the cops pull me over.
I have a friend who hates technology, and won’t use a GPS. He relies on his own simple, yet accurate system called the HGPS. He swears by it, and says he never gets lost. I asked him what it stands for, and he said it’s called, “The Homeless Guy Positioning System.” According to him, all you have to do if you’re ever lost, is look for a homeless guy, pull up, hand him a few dollars, and maybe an ice-cold beverage, and ask for directions. It seems that for some reason, homeless guys know where everything is. Don’t ask me why. All I know is, they’re always right, they’re really good people, and they can tell some of the most fantastic tales. Where do you think I get some of the ideas for my stories? As an added bonus, my wife for some reason, is extremely terrified of them. I used the HGPS system once, got perfect directions, met a nice veteran, thanked him for his service, and gave him my phone number in case he needed a place to stay. As an added bonus, my wife hid in the back seat, and didn’t say a word the rest of the trip!
Well, as I was writing this post, my wife and son got my new GPS installed, and the car loaded for a weekend camping trip up into the Catskill Mountains of New York. They even programmed the GPS with a soft, lilting, almost hypnotic female voice, with a sexy British accent. My son had a trip planned with friends, so it was just me, my wife, and the GPS, for a fun-filled weekend in the great outdoors. A few hours into the trip, I began to anticipate her lovely, soothing voice, saying something like, “In one-quarter mile, please turn left……. Darling.” Do you know my wife was upset with my son for programing a woman’s voice into the GPS? I don’t know if she’s jealous of a computerized, feminine voice, or if she just wants to be the one giving me directions. My son defended his actions. He said to my wife,
“Come on mom. Let dad have his tiny bit of happiness. The poor guy saved you and your mother’s life, is still recovering from multiple alligator bites, got that life-threatening infection from swallowing too much swamp water, and he’s still having episodes of dizziness from that king of all gators putting him into a death roll. And be honest mom. It was, pretty awesome, that through it all, he somehow managed to hold onto that bottle of beer.
I think we might be close to the end of our trip. It looks a little desolate outside. Any minute now, Lady Margaret Wellington is going to say something. Yes, I admit it – I named my GPS. It kind of fits her though, doesn’t it?
“You have reached your destination……. Sweetie.”
Stopping the car, and looking around, I could see I was parked on a weed-choked, one-lane dirt road, in a breath-taking, but totally isolated landscape of towering trees, and majestic, snow-covered mountains. I reached into the back seat, lifted the blanket my wife was hiding under, said the homeless guys were gone, and told her it looked like we were lost. She told me to punch in, “Where am I?” into the GPS. This time, Lady M, didn’t sound as reassuring as she said,
“Uhhhh……. you have reached your destination……. Mate.”
My wife then informed me, if I type in our current position, ever-circling satellites in outer space will determine our exact position, feed it into a highly complex system off microchips, and then recalculate and provide a new route to get us to our original destination. “This is going to be tough,” I thought. Okay, let’s see if I can do this.
“I am approximately fifty feet from a towering pine tree, about two or three miles from a huge, snow-covered mountain, and something that looks like, either, a huge and hairy Sasquatch, or a shirtless Cousin Vito, is less than a hundred feet from my vehicle.” I squinted in the bright sunlight to discern whether a mysterious creature of legend was rapidly approaching my vehicle, or if a man of Italian descent who makes a Sasquatch look like a smooth and aerodynamic dolphin, was also on vacation.
In what almost sounded like a whisper, the GPS intoned, “You are about to collide with an eight-foot-tall, six-hundred-pound missing link, with formidable strength, and a nasty disposition.” Wow, that front collision warning thingy really works! I hope the dash cam is working. If, by some miracle I survive this, I could be a You Tube sensation.
Okay, I managed to get my location programmed in. No, wait a minute. That’s not right. I need to update.
“Sasquatch is fifty feet from my vehicle.” Thank God, I took typing in high school.
What the heck!
“Sasquatch is on the hood of my car.” Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
“You have reached your destination……….”
Will you please, just shut up? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
“You have reached your destination……. Darling.”