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Saturday, December 5, 2009

sheila the girl in my GPS

I am directionally challenged. Okay, let’s not be politically correct. I suck at finding my way from one point to another. I have lived in Grand Rapids for most of my life. I still forget where I am going or how to get there. Anyone that has ridden with me knows I can drive. They also know I can get lost. Safely, well, that may be a point of contention.

Google maps and MapQuest are great, but my laptop is not as mobile as I am. I have enough to do while driving. Smoking, phone calls, drinking coffee, fidgeting with the stereo, taking notes, and breathing use up any or all the available multitasking ability I have. Add a computer or a bunch of printed maps and “Houston we have a problem” is an understatement.

I tried the GPS on my cell phone. It was an adventure in and of itself. To be kind, it really sucked. More bars in more places? Yeah, right. When you lose signal, the GPS freezes and you miss your turn. Or hit something. Or just stop driving. Or throw the phone out the window. The phone GPS experiment failed.

Since I travel a few miles a day I go to places that I have never been to and places I have been to many times. I am alone in the car. I get lost, and I have to pull over and find the proper paper map and figure out what street I am near and how to get back on track to get to where I need to go.

Work is enough work. I needed to simplify. I needed to stop getting lost. I did the only logical thing. I bought a GPS unit. It only has one available voice. It is a woman. I named her Sheila. Did I mention I am alone in the car? Not any more.

I have a boss. I have a wife. I have a mom. I have two children. I have all these people that like to tell me what to do. I NEEDED another voice in my head that tells me where to go and what to do. I NEEDED to have a way to get to where I am going. For mankind’s sake, it is best for society that I am focused on driving. Thankfully, for all of you I have Sheila. Thankfully she has a mute button.

She is not a good conversationalist. She cannot seem to pronounce some words. She mispronounces the street we live on. She is insistent on how we get there. She does not like to take the route I want to take. She always tells me what to do. However, she never complains when I make a wrong turn. She just recalculates the directions. And then tells me where to go.

Today I drove in circles in the parking ramp. And not just to annoy Sheila. I actually missed the exit turn 3 times. Sheila kept on asking me “when possible make a u-turn” and “Drive to the nearest road.” “I am trying to do that, Shelia.” was my terse reply. I really NEEDED another voice telling me what to do. I hit the mute button.

Just another day in paradise


  1. now if i was your navigator you would spend a lot of time on dirt roads.

  2. dirt roads do not scare me...but i would love to have a navigator that sounds as sexy and posh as you...hehehe


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