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?
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,
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."