Monday, March 16, 2009

Driving With Minnie

The modern world is increasingly wired, or wireless. A new gadget came into my life recently, a Garmin GPS unit I've affectionately dubbed Minnie. My DH bought her for me a couple of weeks ago after Janet Corenlow Quinn and I decided to drive to Las Vegas for the recent EPICon2009 Conference. The DH seemed convinced I'd manage to get lost without him, so he bought the GPS unit. He'd been talking about getting one for some time now, and this made for a good excuse. Minnie is the ultimate back seat driver, and she can be very helpful or very annoying. Her directions helped us navigate through Henderson to our hotel, the Montelago Village Resort, a lovely property situated in a faux Tuscan village at Lake Las Vegas. Click here for a slideshow of my Vegas pictures at my blog.

The perverse part of my nature delights in foiling Minnie by not following directions. I love to hear her grumble, "Recalculating, recalculating" in her computer-generated voice. Sunday morning I turned her on to go to Wal-Mart in San Clemente because I knew there was a back way through the hills. Minnie, of course, expected me to take the freeway and Avenida Pico. She had to do a lot of recalculating. I also discovered that while Minnie is fluent in English and French (this model works only in the US and Canada), her Spanish pronunciation is atrocious. And of course the streets in the area were all Spanish. I had to wait until I got to an intersection to figure out which street she wanted me to turn on. Every Calle became a Call. Every avenida became an a-VEN-i-da. My favorite was Call Delay Pazz (Calle de la Paz). By the time I pulled into the Wal-Mart lot she was quite flustered and kept saying, "go to A-VEN-ida Pico" even though we'd arrived at the programmed destination. Obviously, the technology isn't perfect. I'm happy to have Minnie, but sometimes I just want to turn her off.

What's your favorite new gadget?

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont
http://flightsafancy.blogspot.com