Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blissful 12 minutes to Hell

I have an unhealthy relationship with my GPS. He thinks he’s pretty smart…if I turn the wrong way, he lets me know. If I go slower than he expects me to, he’ll update the time of arrival.
But for all his helpfulness, I feel a sort of “competition” with him. I know he feels the same way. I can tell he secretly wants me to take a wrong turn so that he can show just how fast he can calculate an alternative route. And the biggest slap in the face is when he throws down a “make a u-turn now.” Like I’m such a dumb-ass that the only option to get back on track is to come back the way I came.

Every day when I pull out of my driveway, he tells me that it will take 13 minutes to get to work.

And then it begins…My inner Bobby Rahal rears its ugly head.

I don’t fully stop at intersections. I exceed the speed limit in unhealthy doses. I weave through traffic, all in the hopes that I can prove him wrong and do the drive in 12 minutes. If I get stuck at a light, or behind a blue-hair or 1979 Datsun, the blood pressure begins to rise…but not because I’m going to be late, or that I’m in a hurry…it’s because “he’ll” be right. In fact, if I don’t “win,” I feel a little slighted and the day is off to a craptacular start.

But there are the days that I pull into the lot…and look down at “him” and he wears the face of defeat. He sheepishly shows my travel time as 12 minutes. I know he wishes he could show seconds…and then try to justify that 12 minutes and 54 seconds is actually closer to 13 minutes than 12. Take a seat my Garmin buddy…you’ve just been schooled by a chubby man in a Mazda Protege.

You know…perhaps the fact that I refer to “it” as an actual person may be insightful in future therapy sessions.

And if the stress from my race with my GPS is not enough, the OCD-based problems with radio stations on my drive just exacerbate the problem.

I leave for work roughly the same time every day. The instant I get in the car, I flip it to “Bob and Tom” for about 5 minutes until they go to commercial. I then flip to AM and listen to the last 3 minute segment on “Mike and Mike” on ESPN radio. The instant they sign off, I flip over to the FOX AM station for the morning news. The news is over just about the time I pull into my work parking lot.
This is EXACTLY how the stations work in the morning, and if for some reason they decide to alter their programming for a day and I have to listen to commercials, I get bent.

Listen to music you say?? My brain is not ready for audio stimulus of these proportions at that time of the morning. For me, the drive is therapeutic…I need the same thing every morning, and know what to expect.

Get satellite radio?? I’ve thought long and hard about this, but can’t seem to pull the trigger on a monthly payment while only in the car for 25 minutes a day. You can call me cheap…because I am.

Find new stations to listen to?? I’ve tried. The only thing left is country music morning shows. These guys consider “Git r done” a phrase impossible to overuse. NPR is too “fuzzy” in my neck of the woods.

If my local radio stations decide to switch programming or if the shows don’t coincide with the times like they have in the past, I’m not even sure what I’ll do.

And then there is the slight chance that if I do 90 MPH to beat my GPS, I’ll get to work before the news can finish. If my automobile electronics cause this apocalyptic event to occur, I’m walking.


JohnnyB said...

My trip to work takes 15 - 20 minutes and I always hit Bob and Tom's long commercial break just before 7 am.

And I have a passive-agressive GPS

mentalTHREESIXTY said...

You make me want to get a GPS and prove it wrong too!

David said...

In my city, I can't believe anyone still has their GPS device since the daily police crime report is filled with people reporting theirs was stolen from their vehicle.

I guess everyone is buying theirs back from the person who stole it the day before.

How is it you even care about the GPS for your daily trip to work? Can you not find your way back day after day with out electronic directions?

Ooh - that sounds inappropriately snarky. Sorry

The Nemesing One said...

A heavy dose of competition with an inanimate object is healthy once in a while. You should try it with a wooden spoon sometime. Mind the splinters though!

Da Old Man said...

I'd take wrong turns just to mess with the GPS. And I'd make sure it had a woman's voice to nag me. I'm used to that.

The Hypocritical One said...

JohnnyB--damn the commercials

mental--don't do it.

David--You sound like a hit at parties. Perhaps you have a story about how your Grandma died to cheer up all up.

TNO--I thought you moved to spatulas...hmm.

Old man--A GPS with a man's voice would just be something like a random street generator...it doesn't bother with directions.

Alice said...

GPS? What's that? My car's pushing 12 years old. I'm lucky I can get my iPod to somehow work in there. It's iffy on most days.

Dan da Man said...

Why dont you just go slower and get to work in like 20 mins

Anonymous said...

i totally identify. i try to beat "trudie's" estimate whenever i take a road trip somewhere, but she's on to me and has figured out i usually do 80-85 on the interstate and adjusts her ETA accordingly. Bitch.

i do recommend XM. i've inspired several friends to get it, b/c i'm too cheap to have cable TV, yet i have XM. i love it. however, i'm likely in the car more than you (25k miles/year). and, i never watch tv anyway.

so,there's my $.05 or so. happy trails!

Anonymous said...

Oh.. I love that you race your Tom Tom!

I have one too-- its WRONG all the time.. tells me to turn in the wrong places.. so stupid.

Ive nicknamed it Donna-- after my aunt donna who is a total ditz.


Alex L said...

Cant you turn him off, your gps I mean. Unless after he's been off for an extended time he'll be angry at you when you turn him back on.

The Hypocritical One said...

Alice--Ipod in the car? I listen to radio because that's all I get in my Mazda.

Dan--You're actually right...I would be moving with the flow of traffic--farm trucks, tractors, etc.

muskrat--I'm a little more interested now that sirius and XM are merging...I'm waiting for an "a la carte" type of deal with them.

Sarah--the major problem I have, is that it'll spring a turn too quickly or too late. I think it's probably user error though.

Alex--You're on to something here...maybe he'll give the silent treatment...that'd be grand.

Locations of visitors to this page