Friday, April 9, 2010

Global Positioning

I will be driving to Chicago this coming week, so I bought a GPS. We had used my sister's the other week when she and I and my cousin drove out to see my aunt. We were amused by the GPS's pronunciation of landmarks and road names, which are rather unusual out there: Vermilion, Berlin (pronounced BURR-lin), and Gore Orphanage Road. "Turn right," the administrative assistant-type GPS voice told us, "at Gororororororphange Road." We laughed outselves silly.

The next week, after my niece played with the GPS, we had Mary Poppins guiding us to the national cemetery. I was half afraid she'd start singing about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

It is not any secret to anyone who knows me that have the absolute worst sense of direction when it comes to north, south, east, or west. Sometimes I can do street names, but in the county seat, these get me a bit cornfuzzled, with Broadway and Bradway, routes which jog north-east-north-west, and the worst, overlapping street names. One evening, I found myself at the corner of North East Street and East North Street. Of course I couldn't tell what street was which, so I didn't know which way to turn. I would have asked for directions, but the thought of someone telling me to go west on North East Street gave me an eye twitch.

EG will give me directions, saying things like, "You'll go north," omitting the street, and my eyes will roll up into my head and my ears will ring.

However, I can drive by landmarks--tell me to go left at the Dairy Queen and right at the house with the blue shutters, and I am there. My uncle's wife was notorious for giving really abstract directions, telling people to turn at the herd of cows, or drive until the person saw the farmer standing in his driveway with a broom in his hand. For what it's worth, no one ever got lost when she gave directions. As an adult, I now suspect it was because they used a map or asked someone else.

Anyway, last week we drove to my aunt's funeral, and I printed directions off mapquest. They were fine, except the route addresses counted up, then went from five digits suddenly to three digits as we hit a small town, decreasing as we continued. "This isn't right," I said to EG. "Well," he told me, "we're going west." I called my sister on her cell. "Did you pass Gororororphanage Road?" she asked. Not yet. "Then keep going," she said. Not bad advice in any number of situations.


maeve said...

GPS is the best invention of modern times. Sometimes I converse with Ms. Poppins: "I'm not goin' that way, chickie" and K says "Mom, you're talkin to the GPS woman and she doesn't care".

I no longer hesitate to go to places that mean nothing to me in terms of where they are. I don't perseverate about how I'm going to get there. I never buy maps. Who would have thought that AAA was only for getting one's car started and not for maps to go on vacation?

The Vet's cemetery, by the way, is the pitts. It's impossible to find. I've more than once accused him of hiding from me.

Munchkin Mom said...

The Vet's cemetery is literally in the middle between nowhere and where-are-we.

Yesterday I came home from Trader Joe's, intentionally making turns which made the GPS rather testy. The female sounds more annoyed when she says "recalculating" than the male. I also saw some parts of Rocky River which I had never seen before. Pretty.