“Nagging From the Dash” by Chris Zito

“Calculating route.”
“I’m just stopping for gas! You don’t need to-God, why do I even talk to you!”

My GPS and I have a love/hate relationship. I’m sometimes ashamed of the way I speak to her. But she starts it!
That terse tone. That stilted cadence. I’m sick of her condescending attitude!

I’ve learned the best thing to do is mute her when I’m first leaving my neighborhood. Hearing her give me directions from my house to the Mass Pike makes me feel like a student driver.

“Take the… third…exit at the roundabout.”
Her uneven tone and strange pauses are unnerving. And the way she calls a rotary a roundabout makes me cringe. Why couldn’t they make a Massachusetts version of this machine?
“Step on it. The light is yellow.”
“Hey, the guy to your right is trying to cut in. Squeeze forward.”
“Calculating appropriate gesture.”

I get most frustrated when she gets confused. You’d think I would relish these moments.
“Oh what’s the matter? Having trouble “calculating route?” Gee, I guess we don’t know as much as we think we do!”
In reality this is a most frightening experience. If the GPS doesn’t know where we are what hope do we have of arriving safely at our destination?

When she gets completely baffled she just blurts out, “When possible make a legal U-turn.” Sometimes I make it quickly and before she can register that the car has made a legal U-turn she says it again. Then I make another legal U-turn. This is how I ended up going up and down the same street in a nearby town about thirty times. A woman with a teenage daughter took out a restraining order on me.

For all my griping I am grateful to have the GPS. Years ago as a young comic driving all over New England to one nighters I could have really used her. I’d have a crumpled paper with directions in the car with me and if they were incorrect or I missed a turn and got lost my only recourse was to find  a payphone and call the place.
No GPS. No cell phone. The olden days.

“I’m one of the comedians and I’m looking for the Elk’s Club in Hanover, NH.”

Even though the GPS is bossy, short, and sometimes confusing, she is by and large a useful tool. And she knows who is in charge. Every now and then the display map is replaced by a list and she’ll blurt out, “Say a command!” Now you’re talkin’.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


6 Responses

  1. I love our GPS. I would avoid driving in the city for fear I would get lost, but with the GPS, even if you get lost, you aren’t.

    I have a friend who likes to go out for a drive to explore. He just drives until he’s done, then he turns on his GPS and puts in his home address. Freedom.

  2. Mine is name “Gretta GPS” and I feel your pain! It’s bittersweet!

  3. LOL!! I named ours Lady La La — but my sister insisted on changing it to Lady Ga Ga —
    Definitely has a personality of her own!!

  4. Ours is called “GABBY”… she got her name on a 5 hour drive to Canada when she was gabbing all the way !!

  5. Great personal story (GPS)! laughed until I had tears! I especially love it when there are multiple turns ahead and she doesn’t decide which one, until I take the wrong one – then has to “recalculate”. Blech!

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