Friday, September 2, 2016
My Wife's Eternal Battle With The GPS
This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on September 2, 2016.
My Wife's Eternal Battle With The GPS
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2016 9:52 pm | Updated: 9:54 pm, Thu Sep 1, 2016.
This past weekend my wife and I attended a wedding in New Hampshire. It was a beautiful and joyful event, and we had a great time.
But the drive up was pure hell. The entire trip consisted of bickering, angry words and terrible threats. It’s amazing there was not some kind of violent incident.
No, the two of us weren’t fighting. And yes, we were the only people in the car. So who was all this hostility between?
It was my wife and the only thing that irritates her more than I do — the GPS.
My Beloved harbors a hatred and resentment of the anonymous, faceless automated voice that emanates from somewhere inside our dashboard, and occasionally from her phone.
And before you ask — yes, she uses it. All the time. By her own choice. She has a love-hate relationship with the computerized entity that perhaps only I can truly understand and appreciate.
And no — it is not a male/female thing. The voice on my wife’s GPS is definitely female, and that, too, is her choice. I asked why, and her answer made perfect sense in the logic-channeled world in which she often resides.
“There’s no way I’m going to let some man tell me what to do,” she explained patiently.
When I tell you my wife hates the GPS, I mean it. You have to see it to fully appreciate the depth of feeling. She truly believes the imaginary person in there is deliberately trying to confuse and trick her, while at the same time not believing a single thing it tells her.
As soon as she enters the destination, my wife immediately begins to challenge the satellite system. The route it outlines is never the best way, and must always be ridiculed. Then she starts planning just how she can deviate from the outlined plan.
And when she veers off the suggested route and the voice starts saying “Route recalculation” over and over, her fury is uncontainable.
Once underway, she does not want to hear from the infernal machine. When I patiently point out it is only doing what she asked it to do, she becomes infuriated. She claims she can look at the map without having to be lectured to by this “thing.”
Of course, looking at the screen while driving really isn’t practical. As a result, she grudgingly turns up the volume again.
“Stay left, and prepare to turn left in one mile,” the soothing voice informs us. That brings a sharp retort and an exasperated reply.
“I’m already left! If I go any further left, I’ll be in someone’s yard,” she mutters to no one in particular. A few moments later the soothing GPS voice tells us to “follow the road for 20 miles.”
That sets off another tirade. “Follow the road? What does she think I’m going to follow? Idiot!”
The fact all this comes from the woman who 10 minutes prior was cuddling her infant grandson just makes it all that more surprising. As I recall her earlier telling her other two grandsons to stop fighting and be nice to each other, I fleetingly wonder if the voice of a young child giving her directions would be received in a more accepting way.
Not that I have never seen this side of my usually mild-mannered spouse, mind you. I have a certain skill set that can bring this out in her even faster than the GPS.
But it has made me wonder — is GPS rage a real thing? Could it be a condition of some kind? Do other people do this too? My wife insists it is commonplace, but I have my doubts.
So if any of you suffer from “GPS Syndrome” or know someone who does, I’d love to hear from you. I’d be glad to know about any suggestions for treatment or a cure.
Or if nothing else, how you protect yourself in the car.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.