A Battle of Wills

You know what’s fun?  Arguing while you’re driving.

Now, I’m used to my kids bickering with each other or with me while I’m invariably driving them somewhere.  It’s not a picnic but it’s just part of the gig.

But the time I spent today fighting with a GPS system was beyond my limits.

I was off to a friend’s baby shower in Brooklyn.  Not a very long drive, mileage-wise.  And I’m very comfortable driving in the city.  But I hadn’t been to her particular neck of the woods before and needed some specific directions.

If only there was a device for such a thing.

Normally, I’d drive my car and use OnStar.  But today I took my husband’s car.  Because it’s 1) older (we’ll care less if I dent it while parallel parking) and 2) smaller and easier to maneuver (I may or may not get my urban road rage on when I cross the New York state line).

But.  His car has no navigation system.  Except for the old portable Garmin.  But hey, I figured, its job is to give directions.

Or not.

Its job, apparently, is to get all passive aggressive and argue with me.

It’s evident that the GPS has a preferred route in its head.  What’s not clear is how this preferred route is established as the front-runner.  But my guess is that it’s the closest way by how the crow flies.  It certainly doesn’t account for likelihood of traffic.  Or the use of major highways above side roads.  Or logic in general.

Fine.  She has her route and I have mine.  But once I deviate from her route, why can’t she accept the socially mandated terms of the client-vendor relationship?  Wherein, I paid for this thing — I’m the client.  I want to go a different route — do your job and stop trying to put me back on your road.

It was like an escalating battle of wills.

“In .5 miles, turn right onto Garden State Parkway.”

“The Garden State Parkway?  Is she actually trying to steer me toward the Holland Tunnel?  No, I’m going through Staten Island.”

I skip her turn.

She huffs.  “Recalculating.  In 2.2 miles, turn right toward the Garden State Parkway.”

“Not doing it.  I’ve made this mistake before.  I’ll sit for an hour out of the tunnel.”

I persist and skip her turn again.  It’s at this point, I feel that — absent my gross miscalculation of heading toward Canada — she should take the hint and give me the directions to the other route.  The better route.

The huffing seems to escalate.  It’s like she’s whining and growing impatient, as if she has somewhere else to be.  Or someone else to misdirect.  “Recalculating.  In 5 miles, turn right toward the Garden State Parkway.”

“Ohmygod, woman.  Seriously?  How did you even get this job?”

Now my two year-old chimes in from the back seat:  “Mommy.  I think she wants you to turn right.”

“Yeah, well, she has no idea that if we take the Holland Tunnel, we will be stuck on Canal Street until your third birthday.”  I then mumble something about this dipshit having no concept of traffic suicide.

“Oh.  Can we hear This Old Man on the CD?”

“We just listened to it 17 times, honey.”

“Again, please — This Old Man,” she pleads.

And then more huffing from the Garmin:  “Recalculating.”  I was pretty convinced, at this point, she was going to try to drive me off the Verrazano Bridge out of spite.

Between the toddler songs and the estrogen navigation standoff, I was never so happy to get to a baby shower in my life.

Until I had to go home.  My bitchy nemesis was waiting for me in the car.  She learned nothing while I was at the party.

Next time, I follow the direction of the sun.

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  1. tara says:

    Love this! Your gps and mine are out to get us. Yours seems to love the holland tunnel and mine loves bringing me into downtown Newark. Every time. joy!

  2. Steve Lemson says:

    Last Christmas, after Delta decided that where we really wanted to be was Atlanta (different story), I rented a car to drive to Knoxville (another different story). Marge, as we affectionately call her, decided that, no, to get the full driving experience, we had to go via Dalton, Georgia. Do you know Dalton? You’d recognize it when you suddently hear dueling banjos coming from nowhere. So here we are on a little two-lane road and Marge, in her inimitable British accent, starts murmuring about “a purdy mouth.” A voice from the back seat pipes up, “Y’know, Dad, I once saw something on Bravo about albino cannibal hillbillies. I think they came from here.” We made it to Knoxville in record time.

  3. Jessica says:

    Ha! Maybe you should have just turned it off for the ride home.

  4. Kristin says:

    We have ours on a British accent. Still passive aggressive, but more palatable, somehow. 😉

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