Monday, March 22, 2010

Front Seat Driver

I recently saw a news study showing that there might be some genetic link to people who lack a general sense of direction. I would believe the opposite to be true as well, because my stellar internal compass is one of the main attributes I inherited directly from my dad.

That and our rugged good looks.

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed exploring new roads because I always have a pretty good idea of where I am and how to get there. Sometimes I’ll even take The Camel out to get lost just so that I can experience the adventure of finding my way back.

My Wife, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly share my passion for this pastime. She doesn’t really care where she is or how she got there, she just wants to get there.

Since we’re still relatively new in town, I have seen that as an opportunity to learn new routes and discover back ways and byways. My Wife, however, saw it as an opportunity to get a GPS system for her car as a Christmas present.

Don’t get me wrong. When I’m on vacation or in a new place for a limited amount of time, I definitely see the benefit of a navigational guide; but there is no way I’m going to let a computerized voice boss me around on my own turf.

(Quick side note: I’ve heard that these GPS systems are becoming so advanced that they even have celebrity voices that you can now choose from. Personally, I don’t care if they get Scarlett Jo to sit in my front seat and give me directions in that smoky, smoldering voice of hers, I don’t want anyone telling me where to go. On second thought… let’s not get stupid. I don’t want to be the one to put limits on any helpful technological advances.)

Where was I?

My Wife and I had our difference of opinions come to a head last weekend when we were planning to meet another couple to see a movie at a theater we had never been to before.

I had a general idea of where the theater was and was inwardly excited about trekking a new path. As we climbed into the Red Rover, my Wife asked if I wanted her to set up the GPS. I scoffed before lecturing her on the value of actually paying attention to where she is going as opposed to blindly going on auto pilot every time she leaves the house.

Go ahead and guess how well that turned out for me.

We were doing fine until I guessed the wrong exit off the highway (to be fair, I was only one exit away from the correct one but still, I did guess wrong). When we had wandered for a few minutes without seeing the theater where we both thought it should be, I knew I had to act fast because I knew what was coming.

After I realized my mistake, I figured going back to the highway was a lost cause so I started taking every turn I could to get us heading in the direction of theater. As I frantically tried to correct our course, my Wife ever so quietly and calmly reached into her purse, found the GPS case, pulled out the GPS, turned on the GPS, and entered the name of the theater.

It was man versus machine and there was no way I going to lose this one for all of humanity.

We got to a pivotal stop light and I knew the theater was close. I just had to decide if we needed to go straight or take a right.

“Do you want to know the correct way?” my Wife asked.

“No, I got it,” I feigned, my mind racing as if searching for a Final Jeopardy answer.

I committed to going straight. As soon as the light turned green, we started rolling forward only to be interrupted by my Wife.

“Nope!” she exclaimed.

I had enough time to whip the car to the right. Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone in the turn lane as that would have quickly turned into machine versus machine.

We raced to the theater only to get there in time for the box office’s announcement that our particular show had just sold out. As we limped back to the car, my Wife couldn’t resist.

“Do you need the GPS to get us home?” she jabbed.

“I’m good,” I huffed.

“I don’t know why you hate something that takes all the work out of going places,” she said with a laugh.

Maybe because it takes all the fun out of it too.

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