Friday, December 28, 2007

Mandy, take me to Shea!

The route to Shea already is planned out!

There’s a new lady in my life and her name is Mandy.

Except that for the first week we were calling her Mindy.

And sometimes I use her friend Lori, but never their partner, Richard.

And like many other women, she tells me where to go and what to do. And I obey.

Mandy is the computerized voice in the automotive GPS device I got for Christmas.

It’s like the iPod in that after having this treasure for just a couple days I can’t imagine how I survived 43 years without it.

My family already is sick of listening to me extol its glories.

I don’t have a clue how it works. Something about satellites.

All I know is I usually get tense driving from sister-in-law’s house.

It’s waaaay deep in the country and you have to take these little roads once you get off the real streets. And even the real streets aren’t anywhere near civilization. I know this because I don’t see a Panera Bread or Jimmy John’s.

But as we loaded up the car Christmas night for the trip home, the relatives asked if I needed directions back to the highways.

"Heck no," I replied confidently. "Mandy will lead the way."

And sure enough, my new friend navigated through tiny towns and fields right to the I-55 entrance ramp.

Which is not to say everyone is a believer. On that trip to Kris’ house, Mandy told me to make a right turn. I was about halfway into the turn when my father-in-law objected, telling me to take the more familiar route.

To me, this is like a pitcher shaking off a catcher. When Gary Carter called for the curve, Dwight Gooden listened.

My mother-in-law, in the other car, later said. "When we saw you start to turn then spin back, I said, ‘Well, Dad must have overruled Mindy.’"

Somehow Mandy understood that the elders must be obeyed, because once we missed the turn, she simply reconfigured the route and directed us another way.

And somehow, she also knows the location of every restaurant, stadium or other place we designate a "point of interest," or "POI." You can either set it ahead of time to lead you to Quiznos, or wait to see the little fork-and-spoon icon appear on the screen.

I don’t know how Mandy knows these things. And apparently there are knowledge gaps — I won’t call them faults because that would imply Mandy has faults — because the new Starbucks near our house doesn’t appear.

This could be easily solved by simply flashing a Starbucks icon on the screen every other mile or so because, chances are, a Starbucks is either there already or will be there soon.

And she doesn’t just give directions. The screen flashes the speed, how many more miles are left in the trip and roughly how long it will take us to get to the destination.

Supposedly she even makes a mooing sound should I ever be cruising above the speed limit, though we’ve yet to hear the cow.

Picking which computer voice to use was a big decision. Mandy seems to have a slight British accent and for some reason calls Interstates "motorways." Lori has more of a Midwestern sound and a serious tone that seems to say, "Don’t cross me. I know where to go. I have an internal GPS and you routinely take the family on accidental tours of bad neighborhoods."

The company’s Web site said we can download other voices. It describes one as "New York cab driver" that sounds like no one I know. Of course, the last time I was in a New York cab the driver was talking into his Bluetooth and I thought he was talking to me, so I'm not sure how I'd respond to this while driving.

Another voice was John Cleese, but he costs extra. I’m holding out for Rachael Ray. "Did you turn left? Yum-o!"


Sunshine Sis said...

GPS systems must have been all the rage this Christmas. I know which friends got them because instead of telling me they'll be at my house at noon, they say things like "Lucy says I'll be to your place in 22 minutes at my current rate of speed". Santa brought my DH one this Christmas. He let me know he'd be home from work in "approximately 6 minutes". I just hope if I'm driving his car it speaks to me in English.

Anonymous said...

Although I usually say my peace, I have kept a pretty consistent rule about not getting involved in other people’s relationships. Trust me, I have quite a few I have been extremely tempted to comment on (in front of them of course, what would the world be like if we didn’t all gossip – which I define as behind someone’s back – and don’t you, Sunshine Sis or any other of my fabulous relatives say they have never done that). Wow, didn’t take long for that Christmas sprit to evaporate!! But I digress. You will want to kill Mandy, Mindy, April, June, July or whatever you want to call it, er, her. You say, “No, Tim, this is true love!!” I would counter “oh contraire mon frere” that is, if I spoke French. You will not only want to kill it, you will need to kill it. Yes, she will help you in the backwoods of nowhere, but she won’t shut up!! She will needlessly tell you to turn right then left then right again, while you knew it all along!!! She will start to say the mundane, ad nauseum, even keep short cuts away from you and you will finally give “her” that stare. The stare that says, “If you tell me one more time, you are gone!!” But she won’t recognize the stare, nor will she care (a little Dr, Seuss for ya). She will just continue on telling you things you already know until that fateful day when you finally rip her from the dash and toss her out the proverbial (or your car’s) window. Then, when you finally are in the backwoods again, you will need her, and you’ll be screwed!!! But that’s love my younger cousin (hey, one year can teach you a ton of knowledge). Although it is probably too late, and the damage has been done. I will still send this comment, none the less, since what really matters is you already have a great wife that you have to listen to (I know because I share similar circumstance), and ladies, please make sure you note I did not use ad nauseum when commenting on the spouses!!
My fifty cents,

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

No way. Tim! It's not gonna happen.

Me and Mandy (and sometimes Lori but never Richard) are different. It's true love.

She lives to serve. She'll never hurt me. She'll never give up seven runs in a third of an inning in the most important game of the year.

And she's a wonderful listener. Oh, sure, she doesn't add much to the conversation. But when she says "Turn right in 300 yards," I know what she really means. It's coming right from her heart.

And when Mandy gets on our nerves, I can just turn the volume down!

Trust me, man. There's a Mandy out there for you, too. Find your way to Costco on your own, and Mandy will take you back home.

Mike V said...

Let me know when you are on your way!!

Steve J. Rogers said...

I feel a song coming on...

well you came and
told me where I was going...

Sorry, couldn't resist!