Men through the ages have had trouble asking for directions. The Oregon Trail was blazed by rugged men… who were really on their way to Mexico.
I can see a long-suffering conestoga-riding bonnet-clad wife saying, “But Meriwether, please just pull over and ask!” But the intrepid Meriwether knew a guy who knew a guy who knew an Indian who knew a shortcut to the Aztec riches… and so Portland, Oregon was founded.
But today this has all changed thanks to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or SatNav for you European types. These are such wonderful devices. They are an indispensable aid to travel in so many ways. However, they probably shouldn’t be used by male persons.
This technology has allowed us (men) to rationalize our wanderings to the extent that we can say, “But honey, the GPS said to go this way” as a saguaro cactus looms on the horizon of Trenton, NJ instead of the Taco Bell we were looking for .
Speaking of Taco Bell: My daughter and her soon to be husband were hungry, and having no culinary standards, went in search of a Taco Bell. Now I know there is a Taco Bell on every corner in every city right next to the Starbucks. But her soon to be hubby was a techno-geeky guy. So they say ‘Taco Bell’ into the GPS and follow the soothing voice that assures them that soon a simulated lard laced runny bean product slathered in plastic squirt cheese and wrapped in a faux paper tortilla would be awaiting them at their destination. (Full Disclosure: I don’t care much for Taco Bell food-like substances.)
Following the soothing voice they meander around the city and soon find themselves in more and more industrial looking locales. My lovely daughter, a repository of the female common sense gene says what women have been saying for centuries,
“I don’t think this looks like the right way to go.”
Soon-to-be hubby says,
“But the GPS says it’s just right up here!”
And indeed it was. It was Taco Bell. Right there. The corporate headquarters of Taco Bell. In the middle of the night. In a deserted industrial park. All foreboding darkness and closed up tight. They couldn’t even apply for an assistant manager’s job. And she still ended up marrying the guy. Go figure.
I laughed and laughed at their foolishness in trusting one of those new fangled dee-vices.
A few months later my lovely and talented wife and I were in the city where my lovely and talented daughter was preparing to marry ‘that guy.’ Go figure.
Being unfamiliar with the city our rental car was conveniently equipped with GPS. Our destination was the ubiquitous Men’s Wearhouse where I was to pick up my rental tuxedo for the big day. (Sorry to disappoint those of you who have a certain image of me, but I don’t own my own tux. Sorry to disappoint the rest of you but I can actually get cleaned up to where I don’t look like the dead homeless guy found in the dumpster on CSI.)
Now Men’s Wearhouse is a lot like Taco Bell in that they are in every city and all very similar. They are always in some big shopping center surrounded by similar stores. So we set off following our dulcet toned GPS guide. We travel a major highway past many large shopping centers and our guide announces that we’re going to turn ahead and the destination is just one tenth of a mile away.
And behold on our left is a large shopping center. On our right is a lovely group of homes nestled in a grove of trees. Our satellite guided device tells us to turn… right.
Here’s where the difference in men and women becomes most apparent. My wife, who is a woman, looks to the right and sees “homes”, and then to the left and sees a “shopping center” and says,
“The GPS must be wrong. Turn into the big shopping center, dear.”
I look both ways but am convinced that tons of hardware orbiting through space and beaming information from the gods of cartography cannot possibly be wrong. So, like Meriwether before me, I blunder on. The Wife Person snorts, swears a little, sighs, and resigns herself to some sightseeing. She’s been down similar roads.. literally.
Following the vocal instructions from the GPS we arrive just moments later in the gravel driveway of Mr. and Mrs. Eldon Crabtree. The GPS proudly announces that we have arrived at our destination. Wifely Life-Partner asks if I’m going to go knock on the door and see if Mrs. Crabtree has my tux. I explain to her that sarcasm would not get us out this predicament and now I have no idea where the Men’s Wearhouse is since this is the address that the omnipotent space beaming device has told us has my tux.
She suggests we drive across the street to that 50 acre shopping center I avoided and see if by any chance there was a Men’s Wearhouse or maybe a Taco Bell there. Silly woman. So I did… and there was.
What’s the strangest situation you got in by blindly following your GPS or SatNav or any technology? Share your stories in the comments section below. The more humiliating the better.
Have you named the voice on your GPS? We call ours Elizabeth.
Do you have any alternate words for the initials GPS? Like Generally Preventable Sightseeing?
Go ahead, it won’t take long and you’ll feel better.