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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

Just another day in Paradise

Just another day in paradise.

JADIP. Living the dream. I have heard it said that a positive attitude is the key to happiness. I do not know if that is the case, but it is definitely my key to keep from going insane. Everyone has problems and bad days. Everyone has issues. Everyone faces loss and pain. However, everyone also has good times, and good days. Some of us just have more bad than good. And some of us have more good than bad. It is all about how you spin it.

When someone asks me, “How’s it going” or “What’s up?” or any other greeting I respond with this phrase. “Just another day in paradise.” Usually people smile. They get it. I follow up with “Living the dream.” Am I lying? Am I being facetious? Neither, I am just spinning it to make the day more palatable, for them and me.

Attitude is the proper spin on the issues you are facing. If it is not life or death, you can bet that there is someone that has it worse than you. You don’t have to look very far to find greater pain than the mundane problems impeding your happiness. The world spins, and your outlook should as well. It is all about how you look at it.

I try not to get too hung up on the details. I try not to stress out about the issues. I try not to feel sorry for myself. I like to see people smile. I like to hear laughter. Even if it is at my expense. I am a spin doctor of happy thoughts. At least I try to be.

One day I was doing some plumbing. I had to fix a water leak. I had the parts and pieces sitting on the vanity counter. I had to pee. There was a toilet next to the counter. I urinated into the toilet. I did not flush. I left the seat up. You can see where this is going.

I some how hit the parts on the counter. They somehow fell in the toilet. Major bummer, dude. They would not flush. They would clog the toilet. That would compound the problem. I would them have a toilet issue as well as a water leak.

Somehow they have to get out of the toilet. Copper is not magnetic. There is only one solution. Reach in to the pee infused water and pull out the parts. Problem solved. It could be worse. It could be solid waste. It could be someone else’s urine. The day, as impossible as it sounds, went down hill from there. I will not bore you with the issues and setbacks I faced. It was Friday however. TGIF.

When my boss called to ask how the day went of course I said “Just another day in paradise.” “Living the dream.” And then I told him the toilet water story. He laughed. He laughed hard. It is funny. It is funnier to have it happen to someone else. Stupid stuff is always funnier when it happens to someone else. After all it is just another day in paradise and I am living the dream.