Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lucy and Ethel take to the road.

(Note: Long-time readers of this blog know that my older daughter's online persona has changed according to her hairstyle. She started life as Princess Peach, moved through toddlerhood as Princess BroccoliTop, and then spent most of her childhood and adolescence as Princess BunHead. Of late, she has taken to wearing her hair very short and of various fluorescent shades, which has earned her the new moniker, Princess ChopTop. I'm actually kind of looking forward to the day she shaves her head completely, because I have her next name all picked out - Princess Gourdita.)

Back at the end of May, ChopTop and I decided to head off on a little road trip to see some friends in Missouri (state motto: "Branson whups Nashville's butt"). Just the two of us, enjoying the 6-hour drive and having some mother-daughter bonding time. As it turned out, most of the time on the road was a daughter-iPod bonding time. Meanwhile, the mother silently - and somewhat painfully - pondered the mystery that is the Oklahoma tollway system. What kind of sadist creates a highway where coffee vending machines are located at 15-mile intervals, but where the only two roadside restrooms are situated where the state borders Texas and Missouri?

Anyway. I wasn't too worried about the drive itself, because it's pretty much a straight shot on the interstates, until the last 10-15 miles into the small Missouri town where we'd be staying. But Hubster had just gotten a GPS device for his birthday, and I thought it might be a good idea to have it with us, so we packed it into the car and headed north. Neither ChopTop nor I had even turned the GPS on, but if there's one thing the girl and I have in common, it is our certainty that we are smarter than electronic devices. And, more importantly, that we are smarter than each other. One of us would soon be proved wrong.

As we neared the region of Missouri where I thought we'd have to leave the interstate, I suggested to ChopTop that we get the GPS out and input the address of our destination. She agreed, and that's pretty much where the kumbayah portion of the trip began and ended. The next 30 minutes were a seemingly endless variation of the following conversation.

TC: Did you put the address in?
ChopTop: YES!
TC: Well, why isn't it talking to us? Isn't it supposed to tell me when to turn?
ChopTop: It doesn't talk.
TC: WHAT?! It does too talk!
ChopTop: No, it doesn't. Do you see any volume controls on it?
TC: Well, what are those arrows on the screen for?
ChopTop: Those are buttons for the menu.
TC: No, they're not!
ChopTop: YES, THEY ARE.
TC: Well, look here. The back looks like a speaker.
ChopTop: That's not a speaker!
TC: What is it then?
ChopTop: That's for ventilation, so it doesn't get overheated.
TC: I think it's supposed to talk to us.
ChopTop: IT DOESN'T TALK.
TC: Why would it not talk?
ChopTop: It doesn't need to talk! You just look at the screen!
TC: How am I supposed to watch the screen and drive at the same time? It's SUPPOSED TO TALK.
ChopTop: Trust me - IT DOESN'T TALK.
TC: Well, it SHOULD. Are you sure you put the address in?

We finally reached a pause in the, uh, discussion (I think I might have, yet again, been slightly distracted by my bladder, which by this point felt like a 24-cup coffee urn), and were riding along in silence when suddenly we heard

"IN EIGHT HUNDRED YARDS, EXIT RIGHT."

I screamed and nearly drove straight into a billboard advertising several of Branson's butt-whuppin' music shows. ChopTop involuntarily threw herself against the passenger door. We both thought God Himself was sitting in the back seat.

Before I could even compose myself to speak, we heard
"EXIT RIGHT, THEN BEAR LEFT."

There was a brief repeat of the aforementioned screaming, near-crashing, and involuntary throwing of self. Any passersby surely thought our car was being operated by two people with uncontrolled seizure disorders and Tourette's syndrome.

Eventually, I found my breath, and before ChopTop dared utter a sound, I looked over at her and said triumphantly,

"IT TALKS."

In the end, the trip was a great success. We had wonderful time with our friends, ChopTop & I were introduced to Shake's frozen custard (and, yes, I think it's entirely likely that the serpent tempted Eve with a big ol' cone of frozen custard topped with hot fudge), but most importantly, my title of Self-Appointed Genius Know-It-All Of The Family was made even more secure.

But the GPS people really need to program that thing to say, "Caution: You Are Entering Oklahoma, which is an old Native American name that means Land Without Restrooms. State motto: Now You Know Why It Was Called The Trail of Tears."

14 comments:

Sue said...

I was so glad to see your post on my Blogger dashboard -- and I wasn't disappointed! I have one of those GPS things, too. Mine startles me in Japanese.

bensrib said...

Did you know you can make those things have different accents? I love the Aussie one! Glad to hear you've retained your title.

:)De said...

When I saw you had posted anew I could not click fast enough and once again you have given me a great morning wake up. Very funny story and as a mom of a teen.... or course you are the smartest. LOL!

Kathleen said...

So glad to see you back...need some entertainment in my life. Since 4 kids don't provide enough entertainment.

Ditto on bensrib...my hubby's has an Aussie accent, which he changed to because Default Woman was so rude and condescending. But now I'm a little jealous because Aussie Woman is a little too nice and her accent a little too pretty.

reveldesignsdiary said...

Good to have you back! And you didn't disappoint. What a trip!

Sue said...

Once again I laughed out loud. Our GPS is called Maggie but just sometimes we call her other things not complimentary.

Kim said...

I like your new "look" :-)

We bought our daughter a GPS for Christmas and she chose the British guy's voice. She named it Nigel. He is her best friend.

My sister discovered there's a vast no man's land in Nevada where the GPS doesn't work. She ended up going through a creepy totally deserted town. Not an old western town, but a fairly new city. Houses and businesses sitting empty. Very eerie she said. And she was very happy when the GPS began working again and took her back to civilization.

chuckmccky said...

My GPS, on many Interstates, tells you how far it is to the next restroom. However it only does this when you have NOT asked it to give directions!. So you can either know where the next place to pee is OR how to get where you are going!

Sunydazy said...

Aahhh! A morning laugh! A ritual I thought was lost...:-) Travis has one of those GPS things...I loved when it would get confused because he didn't take the proper turn. The little screen would flash and it kept trying to recalculate directions! Just a like a wife saying "I SAID to turn LEFT back there!...If you would just listen!" :-)

Wish I would've known you were so close...I live pretty close to Branson. Maybe sometime you can visit my teeny tiny house.

40winkzzz said...

my hubz' gps lady (whom he & my daughter named serena) has this rather strange way of rolling her r's that never fails to amuse me. she is always telling us to go to "thirrrrrty-second avenue" and similar-sounding places.

what i really love is when serena tells me to make a left turn and i don't because it is, in fact, ILLEGAL to make a left turn at that particular spot. not only does serena have a kiniption; so do my kids. apparently it is more important to obey serena than to obey the law.

Keeley said...

ROFL!!!! =D

I'm so glad you were right. Though it's a pity you were proved right at such a high volume that you nearly crashed.

Dy said...

But, but, did you FIND the volume control?

Our Beloved Aunt B took us on a surprise trip to Dollywood last summer. It was her, DH, me, five children, a slightly wacky Aunt who doesn't get out much, 99yo Gram propped up on the table-turned-bed, and two dogs, in an RV, making an impromptu trip.

Her GPS talks, and it gets agitated if you don't listen (which I'm guessing from the comments here is pretty common - what genius decided to write the irritability code?) Anyway, we took the wrong turn, according to the GPS Lady. She tried to redirect us gently; "Turn around at the next available intersection."

A few blocks later, the neighborhood began to deteriorate, and interestingly, she became more terse. "Turn around in 50 feet."

As we entered the ghetto, GPS Lady became increasingly frantic. "Turn around now. Turn around IMMEDIATELY!"

Aunt B and I probably should have pulled over, because we laughed so hard we cried. She couldn't see to drive, and I was useless as a co-pilot.

I do hope you find that volume control.

Dawn said...

As always, literally laughing out loud and wiping tears from my face....

Jenny said...

Trail of Tears! And me too, Dawn, wiping the Trail of Tears off my face and howling so much I scared some of the children.
Glad you are back at it, TC!