Everything That's Serious Lasts, But To Me There's No Surprise, What I Have, I Knew Was True, Things Go Wrong, They Always Do
Is it me or are navigation units made for cars getting more and more sophisticated? Little 'ole me was raised riding my daddy's truck so I'm used to getting by on those old-fashioned hand-turned knob systems that was lucky to get eight stations. But as I've gotten older and started to buy my own cars I too have been taken in with the maddening rush to install the latest bombjigger and doohickey. I appreciate the added convenience. I am in awe at how sophisticated electronics have gotten. When I hear Eeyore tell me about what his company will be bringing to the table, it honestly floors me.
Yet with all this focus on making everything more convenient and hands-free, I think we've glossed over making everything more cordial and just plain customer-friendly.
Turn left here. One mile straight.
"Thank you, ma'am. You are a godsend, sugar," I said to my navigation unit on my way to pick up some ice cream for Fanny and her nieces. I have the peculiar habit of talking to my unit as if it were a person, but that's what happens when the manufacturers give them such realistic voices.
Mine happens to sound like Holly Hunter.
Turn right here. Four hundred yards straight.
I never bothered to question why it sounds like Holly Hunter or why the car dealer I bought it from decided to lower the price so much, but I do have some theories.
"Are you sure, darling?"
Hmmph. Four hundred yards straight.
Time was when I could pretty much navigate my entire city based on memory and plain 'ole grit and determination. I would have my destination in mind and a general idea of which direction to proceed. Armed with this I'd have to say I did an okay job in getting wherever I needed to go fairly quickly. To be sure, I had my occasional dalliances into getting horribly lost and making a mess of things, but I never worked myself into such a jam as to be horribly stuck. I was like the hen at the fox house, able to retrace my steps without clucking my head off.
Now, though, I seem to have a religious devotion to the directions that come blasting out of my car speakers--the testament according to Holly Hunter. It used to be when I had somewhere to go and my unit was instructing me, I would second guess it. I would actually believe I knew a shortcut or two. However, these days, it's like I'm on auto-pilot. I'll wager a guess it could point me over a cliff and yet as I was falling I'd still have the innate idea it's giving me the quickest route to my destination.
You missed your turn. Again. Make U-turn here.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I apologize. You've just got me so nervous. All I wanted was some ice cream. This was supposed to only be a five minute trip."
You're on your way to get ice cream?
"Yes. Is that alright, sugar?"
Hmmmph. Make right here.
"Thank you for understanding."
Ice cream, she says. At her age!
Lately, I've been trying not to rely so much on my car giving me directions. It's been a huge boost to my ego. Maybe I've forgotten what it's like to be self-relient when it comes to driving. I miss the days when I didn't always have a destination in mind, when I could just pick a point on the compass and merely drive for hours. There's a certain boon for the soul in not knowing where you want to go and still arriving at where you want to be. It's refreshing in a way that people who are constantly on the go, go, go cannot understand.
Hell's bells, Providence only knows I live my life full speed ahead most of the time. What with running a business, running a husband, and still trying to remain in tune with my creative impulses, I know how difficult it can prove to let myself wander aimlessly for a bit. There's always the danger that I might not find my way back to a productive path again.
However, I think the real danger is permanently being stuck with tunnel vision, of being like some filly on the race track who only knows how to run full-bore in giant circles but would die if ever left to her own devices in the world. The real shame would be to have life lead you around instead of you leading a life.
You've got to put things in perspective. You've got to be serious in these situations.
"I know, I know."
I can't be babysitting you every second of your life.
"I know you're right."
Are you going to try harder?
And we're not going to have this foolishness about the ice cream?
"No, Miss Hunter."
Good. Now that we've got that settled, when's the last time you called your mother?
And that's why I'm insisting Greg has my navigation unit removed tomorrow morning...