Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Travels with Garmina

Last Christmas my wife Sharon gave me a wonderful gift.  It was a Garmin GPS system to use in my car.  All I had to do was type in an address and the Garmin would direct me to the quickest route.  Of course, my wife was never expecting that I would use the Garmin when she was in the car because it has been our long tradition that she navigates. 

I knew we were in for some tension when Sharon headed to the American Automobile Association for maps and books for our planned trip to North Carolina.  “We can use the Garmin,” I suggested.  This generated a terse, “Why?  I’ll be in the car.” 

To make matters worse, the Garmin gives directions with a feminine voice, “turn right in 2 miles and continue 15 miles to destination.”  The day of our trip, I placed the Garmin on my wife’s dash board.  To her suspicious looks, I reassured, “You will be surprised how helpful it is.”  By Texarkana, I had to mute the voice because Sharon found it annoying. 

A break though of sorts occurred just outside Memphis as we searched in vain for an agreeable restaurant.  “Let me show you this,” I said as I went to points of interest and found a very acceptable place to eat.  Later Sharon allowed, “I can see where that might be helpful.”  And indeed it proved helpful finding gas, lodging and other things the next day.  By the end of the second day, Sharon volunteered, “Well, I can see why you like Garima so much.”  From that time onward, Garmina became a kind of consultant as my wife would consider suggested routes and either agree or direct me to “a short cut that Garmina doesn’t seem to understand.” 

On our last night driving home, Sharon had planned on us stopping in Shreveport because it would be late getting home.  Garmina indicated that our arrival time would be 7:04 pm and we agreed to drive on home and sleep in our own bed.  Of course, Garima’s arrival time did not take in consideration a rest break at the Texas Information Center, a gas stop, numerous red lights in the Dallas area, and so by 8:30 my wife was obviously annoyed with how Garmina had “misled us.” 

Last week, I forgot and left Garmina in my car. Although generally out of sight on the floorboard, someone broke my window and stole the GPS.  I was late for an appointment when I found it missing and Sharon was kind enough to do the report to the police and see to the window repair. 

That night, as I was sitting eating dinner in a somber mood, Sharon said in a kind voice, “I am sorry that you lost Garmina.”  “Thanks, I responded,” but I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to have a slight smile as she said it.  “Maybe we can replace it someday,” she offered.  Then she added, “If we do, we can call it Garminette.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled again, but in my heart I understood.