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GPS

Daily Prompt:  Wrong Turns

When was the last time you got lost?  Was it an enjoyable experience or a stressful one? 

Tell us all about it.

Bill and I finally purchased a GPS thing  (a Global Positioning System) to help us find our way around the planet.  Our youngest granddaughter named it “Lola.”

Although Bill is not likely to admit it, without Lola he is always lost.  And I am not much help either.

We have been lost in the parking lot at Hershey Park trying to find our way out to the street.  Once we could see our New Jersey hotel just across the highway – so near yet so far since we  could not reach it.  Another time we were lost on a toll road and it was a straight shot with well marked exits.  We have been known to drive around in circles in our own downtown covered garages.

Bill and I are always remarkably lost.

But suddenly there was Lola.

She gave us new found confidence as she handily found the way out of parking lots!

Finally, I could relax, sit back, enjoy the scenery, even put the seat back and snooze.

There was absolute joy and trust in the mighty little GPS gadget.  I just knew Bill was in good hands (well, not literally in good hands of course).  He was technologically balanced and steering wheel focused at last.

Lola, oh Lola, was in charge and doing her thing navigating us through the twists and turns of all the unexplored streets and highways of America.

We pampered her too.  She retained an honored place over the dashboard, was regularly updated, and was never lonely until………

Something happened.

Lola is now rebelling.

I think she finally figured out she is indispensable.

She may also be bored with people who can never find their way because she recently instructed us to turn onto a nonexistent access ramp!  Imagine?

Of course we forgave her that one infraction.

 Even so,  trust is the basis of a GPS/Human Relationship and our faith in Lola was ever so slightly shaken.

Lola’s second murderous attempt was entirely unforgivable.

“Turn Left onto XYZ Street,” she said as we neared our destination (the train station in Charlottesville, VA).  And yep, we turned.  And no, she did not come back to say, “Recalculating!”

Lola sent us down a one way street going the wrong way!

Beeping and screaming and threatening gestures from oncoming traffic were the clues that something was wrong.  Ignoring what Lola might say next we made a panicked “U” turn to get on the right track (thankfully not the train track).

Lola may be a secret serial killer!

Oh, I loved Lola so much before her homicidal tendencies that I was willing to include her in a polygamous marriage.  She is still out there waiting for us to get back in the car.   If I don’t count her maniacal streak I am grateful she still tries to help, but have concluded she is really the enemy in our midst.

I would rather be aimlessly wandering with Bill than going down one way streets the wrong way or turning onto nonexistent on-ramps with Lola.

And hard as it may be to believe, that is the true story of a modern GPS rebellion.

 

 

 

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On the Road Again

On the Road Again

My friend, Nancy, of Not Quite Old, just wrote another of her hilarious posts.  This one was about sacrificing  her own time to do something with her husband; something he loves.  If you haven’t already found her blog I personally guarantee it will make you laugh out loud.

Anyway, Nancy was the inspiration to relate my own huge sacrifice, which I make at least once a year for the sake of marital bliss (and for stocking up on spousal IOU’s).

What is this Supreme Sacrifice?

 Getting in a car with Bill when the destination route is untried and unfamiliar.

Together we set off to explore uncharted highways and byways, but even an unexplored side street will qualify.

“What fun,” you say, “you must have an adventuresome marriage!”

Well, maybe not.

I think Bill thinks he wants to explore new places and discover new destinations and see the world.   And he thinks he will be able to accomplish this in our car.   And  he thinks he will know how to get wherever he is going.  “No problem Babe.  It will be fun!”  However, I know he is practicing the art of self deception and dragging me along with him down the rabbit hole.

Hope Springs 

We begin each journey with good intentions and hearts filled with good cheer and high hopes for a happy outcome.  After many years of marriage, however, I do have some mild concerns and downright jitters.

Sometimes I even break out in a rash.

My hero, Bill, is always the driver.  He is a wonderful driver.

There is only one problem though.

My hero gets LOST! 

And he does not get lost like normal heroes get lost. 

Sometimes he can actually see where he is going, but he still can’t get there. 

Other times, he is lost in a parking lot and goes around in circles, grumbling all the way.

He is even lost on routes once taken, like would you believe yesterday?

He inevitably overshoots turnoffs and winds up driving quite out of the way to make U-turns.

The grumbling escalates and he eventually resorts to profanity to help him find his way. (Note: this means I am failing in my assigned duties to navigate).

To prevent the escalation of frustration, I say yell, “NO, TURN LEFT!”

but he inevitably turns Right.

Then I say yell, “NO, STAY IN THIS LANE,”

but he is drifting onto an off ramp and hollering,

“SH–!&$%Xx!@o!”

Ask directions?   Ha!

Maps?  Ha! Ha!

“Don’t you have a GPS system or a smart phone?” you ask.

Of course we have a GPS system and it helps occasionally with astute concentration on my part. And we even have a smart phone!  But Bill is still always LOST, especially if I get complacent and file a nail or read something, or “heaven forbid” relax, even for a second.  Because when I look up, we are miraculously in unintended territory, and there are frustrated cries from the driver’s seat.

The Navigator

They say phobias begin when you are young.  When I was a girl and we went on family trips, my Dad appointed me The Navigator.  This great honor created anxiety in the effort to please.

Now, when entering a car with Bill, I am once again transformed into the Travel Leader, the Spirit Guide, the Person in Charge – ugghh – The Navigator!  Once again, I must get us where we are going and return us to familiar roads leading home, or back to the motel, or wherever it is we can disembark and feel safe again.

This is my durned duty.

And this is my ultimate sacrifice for marital bliss.

The enormity of the responsibility leaves  imagined heart palpitations, indigestion, bouts of worry, fear, guilt (if I can’t find the way), and finally exhaustion.  Definition of a phobia?  You bet.  I am terrified of getting lost!

Sometimes I think Bill notices the rash or if I am about to faint, because he agreed we should always take the same road to town, the same streets while there, and the same road back.  People wonder why we need directions to their homes or places of business in such a small town.  It’s because we are one-road-in-one-road-out folks.  Familiarity breeds contentment.

Well, not always.

There are vacations – fun filled adventures via automobile.  Our next trip is in the fall to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where there are really only two main roads and if you go down a side street, you wind up in the ocean.  Chances are good for a peaceful trip too, because we have been there – in the ocean – before.

Can anyone recommend a non-drowsy tranquilizer for a self-sacrificing Reluctant Navigator?

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CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME! 

We somehow found our way to a very comfortable timeshare in Escondido, California (in the Wild West).  It’s about an hour from San Diego and 30 minutes from Carlsbad.  My brother and sister-in-law live in San Diego.  Our son and his family live in Carlsbad.

I know California is supposed to be civilized because the settlers struggled and endured all manner of hardships to tame it and that settled that.  Nevertheless, I consider a trip to California is still only for the bravest explorers.  Imagine what the pioneers experienced in their Conestoga wagons.  I wonder if they had traffic jams like today.  Maybe if one wagon got stuck, the others would bottleneck behind it.  Did they know they could drink from cactus?  Did they travel the road we are now lost upon?  But I digress.

Our Wonderful Timeshare in Escondido

Timeshare Morning Walk

If Only the Pioneers Had Lola!

Although we felt like perpetual pioneers, we were fortunate enough to have a GPS guide named Lola.  However, once outside our vacation unit and in a car, we were inevitably lost; lost within the timeshare itself; lost on roads and freeways; lost in parking lots.  Remember I predicted this?  And we took along our Garmin thing too with the GPS gal we named Lola.  And by the time we found our way around, it was time to go home to Virginia.  Gripping the door handle or the overhead thingy, worrying about the next wrong turn has left me slightly arthritic and perhaps perpetually paranoid.  I never did have this eye tic before or the twitching in the neck.  Could it be that because Bill is left handed he manages to consistently turn in the wrong directions?  How can anyone make four wrong turns in a parking lot in broad daylight under clear California skies? And no, I am not exaggerating.

But How Was Our Trip?

Well, we did get to visit with family and friends even though one family member had just been in the hospital for chest pains (that turned out to be nothing), another getting intravenous antibiotics for a skin infection, and another with a kidney stone waiting to descend!  All of these things happened two days before our arrival, and all of them had happy endings about the time we left (with the exception of the kidney stone which is still lurking somewhere).  And no, we are not all really that old and decrepit even though it seems so.  My hair color was black before we left and now, a week later, it’s white!  Try to picture me with black hair, o.k.? – and without the tic.

California weather was HOT upon arrival… like up around 100 degrees, then cooled off a bit in a few days.  Skies were oh-so-clear and there were lovely breezes even inland, but especially toward the beach areas.

What Did We See or Do?

Well, we went to a Beatles concert that was so real the old-time fans in the audience were swaying and singing along with the  young impersonators who were truly fantastic.  I wanted badly to sing too but my voice is so bad it makes people flee the room.  When my grandgirls want their father to leave they say, “Sing Grammy!” Did you really want to know that?

The Beatles Live Again

We also went to a funny cowboy town called Temecula and cruised on foot in and out of the shops but didn’t buy anything much. At least on foot we found our way.  I think Old Temecula is sort of like a ghost town where you walk on plank sidewalks and everything is the way it probably was.  They do have food and water and bathrooms though – not like when the pioneers arrived.

Temecula Court House

Temecula, California
An Odd Wild West Building

We took a ride around Carlsbad and had a wonderful dinner there.  We had dinner at our son’s lovely home.

We had a lot of wonderful dinners in California – and lunches – and breakfasts – and snacks – and bread!  We found the most scrumptious bread ever.  I would have gone back for more but we found it on one of our lost detours and I’m sure we could never find it again.

And having gained at least five pounds, we went home.

I like California a lot, but –

I like home better.

I love home.

We don’t get lost here.

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Lola

Nowadays there is no excuse for a driver to get lost – not with the wonderful Global Positioning Systems around.  The little gadget with a lady inside actually talks you through the twists and turns of life, and almost everyone I know has one or has tried one.   Our youngest granddaughter named ours “Lola.”

I LOVE LOLA!

Well, at t first I loved Lola.  She was so cute when she said, “Recalculating” or even when she consistently interrupted interesting conversations with “Turn Left in 1.6 miles” and “Continue on Highway 81 for 2.4 miles and then turn right on Gleason Street.”  Isn’t modern technology wonderful?

Lola always does her annoying best to get us there.  Even so, my husband and I still manage to get lost in strange cities.  Once, in New Jersey, we could actually see our destination but began to think it was a mirage. “Look!  There’s our hotel across the street!”  After infuriating ineffectual circling and extreme frustration (since Lola kept droning, “RECALCULATING!”), we finally gave up and called the hotel concierge.  “Help! We can see your place from here, but it looks like it is to the left of us and there’s no left turn and if we go right, we wind up in traffic going the wrong way.  No, I don’t know what street we are on because there’s no street sign.  A GPS?   Ha!”

I don’t know why we have so much trouble getting somewhere when the somewhere is in plain sight.  And although I would like to, I can’t really blame Lola for the New Jersey debacle.  Like I said, “In her somewhat annoying way, she tries.”  But, at least that particular time we wound up laughing.  It should be noted that we are not always so amicable in stressed traffic situations or other times when we get lost in parking garages.

RECALCULATING LOVE FOR LOLA

There was the time we were in the Hershey Park, Pennsylvania parking lot, ready to leave.  “Where did we come in?” Bill asked.  “Uh back behind those buildings over there I think.”  And off we went, heading for the back of the lot, which turned out to be the wrong way after all.  “I thought you said BEHIND THOSE BUILDINGS!”  “Uhhhh… where are we anyway?” I wonder as we aimlessly circle the parking lot.  Finally, we hit a spot where Miss Smarty Pants Lola kicked in and said, “RECALCULATING!”  Grrrrr.

I can hear her infuriating voice now, “Turn Right at XYZ Street in 1.6 miles.”  But OMG – Bill turned LEFT onto a freeway going nowhere with no turns to get back for the next 60 miles! “RECALCULATING.”   Oh, Lola – SHUT UP!  And “Why didn’t you tell me to turn LEFT?” hollers Bill.  “BECAUSE I THOUGHT YOU WERE LISTENING TO LOLA!”   “WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO ANYWAY – LOLA?”   x*ja$#xxx”/X@#!!!  Now I am ready, really ready, to jump out the door onto the freeway.

We still take maps too, and plot our travel routes in strange cities the old way.   And I still try to balance everything on my lap and go from reading glasses to sunglasses and back trying to give supplemental directions to help Lola with her insurmountable tasks.

By the second day of our vacation I think I dislike Lola.  By the third day, I dislike her intensely and I wonder if she would stop talking if I stepped on her.

The fact is, we are getting ready for another vacation and I can guarantee we will be lost more often than not.  So guess who is coming along TO HELP?  LOLA!

WHATEVER LOLA WANTS, LOLA GETS

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