Which Way Did They Go?

Ed and I have a new hobby. Probably a little strange by most people’s standards, but it’s fun. What is it? Making fun of the GPS lady in the car. Alex (my LaCrosse) has a built-in navigation system and we’ve started using it. Not because we need to know where to go, but it’s kind of cool. We just got back from a trip to visit Linda in Louisiana, and it added a whole new dimension to our travels.

Since we always go the exact same way there, we don’t need a map, but we kept it on all the way. The GPS lady was starting to get a little irritated on the way up. Granted, she didn’t actually cuss us out, but I swear I could hear a testiness in her voice. For instance, at the motel, Ed forgot to bring something with him, so he ran back up to the room to get it. I circled the parking lot, so I could pick him up at the front door. She was expecting me to get on the road and go, and told me to turn left, which would have run me into a wall. I ignored her, because she was obviously confused by my circling. When I finally got back on her path, she told me to turn right onto the highway, but I again ignored her. She wanted me to turn right, turn left, then turn left again because she couldn’t see the opening for me to cut straight across the highway. She’s smart, but not that smart, I guess. Ed will disagree, but I’m pretty sure I heard her give that heavy sigh we all know too well when we ignore something someone tells us. For the trip to Linda’s house, the GPS lady was remarkably accurate, unless I was confusing her. Well, except she did say we’d arrived at our destination (Linda’s driveway) but she still showed we had a half mile to go. Not sure what that was all about.

On the way back home, we like to take the scenic route. And we try to go a different way each time, so we can enjoy the Texas countryside while avoiding Houston traffic. Fast route up, mostly freeway, slow route home, mostly backroads. Ed found a whole new route for us, and we put in waypoints, so she would know how we wanted to go. That’s when the real fun started. Evidently the GPS lady will get a little confused if you want the waypoint to be a “pass through” instead of a stopping point.

We had Cleveland, Texas, as a waypoint, and she was insistent we visit Cleveland instead of just passing through. To get to the connecting highway, you don’t need to go into the center of town, but the GPS lady thinks you do. FYI, she can get fairly obnoxious about the whole issue. She kept putting a U-turn arrow on the screen, the dashboard display, and my head’s up display. No matter what we did, she kept insisting we return to Cleveland. I (wrongfully) assumed she’d realize we were headed towards our next waypoint and recalculate the route, but no. She kept putting the arrow up, I kept hitting dismiss, she kept telling us to turn around, and we finally ended up canceling the route, just to shut her up.

I drive, Ed navigates. And, btw, he’s a much better navigator than the GPS lady. If I get sidetracked and decide to take a detour to visit a snake farm or antique place, he doesn’t tell me every five seconds to turn around. Probably because he’s smart enough to know I’ll slap him. She’s either not that smart or knows I can’t slap her. I can turn her off, though, so the final laugh is really on her.

Ed solved the problem by putting in final destinations instead of waypoints. Of course, if we had bothered to read the instruction manual instead of just winging it, we’d know how to work the nav system, but you know that wouldn’t happen. Ed did start to get irritated, because I decided I’d follow her instructions on how to get through a town instead of his. (His are much better, but that’s beside the point.)

In one town, she had us turn left, drive a few hundred feet, turn right, drive a little bit more, then turn right again, which put us back on the same highway we had been on. It took us a bit to figure it out, but she was having us avoid the downtown traffic. The population of the town we were driving through was about six people, so I’m assuming there was no downtown traffic, but I guess she didn’t know that.

When we finally got to where we could put San Antonio as the last destination, she really did sigh. A sigh of relief this time. Interestingly enough, she wanted me to go home using a route that I don’t use, so I ignored her. Again. I told Ed we were in for a scolding, but that didn’t happen. She immediately did a recalculation and told me how to get home my way instead of hers. Way cool! When we pulled into our driveway, she said, “You have reached your destination,” and I’m pretty sure she mumbled “Thank God” under her breath.

They programmed her wrong. She says things like, “You have reached your destination,” “Turn left at the next intersection,” “Turn left in 600 feet,” etc. Once she told me I must turn right, I pulled into that lane, and she immediately changed it to turn left, which resulted in a conversation about whether I’d heard her right. Ed heard the same thing, so it wasn’t me being a doofus, it was her. I was now in the wrong lane and couldn’t turn left. I also couldn’t turn right because of a big “Do Not Enter” sign, so I went straight. Which resulted in her giving more instructions which were hard to follow. We spent a few minutes circling the town we were in before she was satisfied we were headed the right way.

They should program her to say things like, “Are you even listening to me?” “Are you really that stupid?” “What is it about ‘turn left’ you don’t understand?” “Why do you even have me on if you’re going to ignore me?” “Okay, I’m telling you to turn around one more time, then you’re on your own. I’m through with you!” The list is endless. In fact, we spent quite some time making up responses for her.

I learned several things from our adventure with the GPS lady. 1) Ed gets mad when I choose her route over his. 2) If you bothered to read the instruction manual prior to using the system, you’d save yourself and the GPS lady a lot of frustration. (Yes, I read it as soon as we got home. We are now GPS experts, but the next trip probably won’t be as much fun.) 3) Having someone direct you how to go from point A to point B can be interesting, but it can also get confusing and irritating.

God has it right. In the Bible, He doesn’t tell us how to get into Heaven via some circuitous route that changes on a whim. His straight-to-the-point directions avoid all life’s pitfalls and get us directly to where we want to go. John 3:16 is the most direct route to salvation, and we don’t have to keep making turns. We just keep our eye on the goal. Easy enough to do, and we don’t need a GPS lady directing our every move. Considering how snarky she can get when you ignore her, that’s probably a good thing.

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