Tag Archives: GPS

Adventures with GPS

My husband has discovered portable GPS (global positioning system) technology. This is a little box you can put in your car that speaks to you and tells you where you are and how to get where you want to be.

He is absolutely entranced by them (he actually owns two of them, a Garmin Nuvi and a TomTom). Before he goes to bed at night, he fiddles with the GPS; when he comes home, there’s the GPS again in his hot little hands. He doesn’t speak to me or hear what I am saying, that’s the hold these little machines have on him (of course he does hear the little voice of the GPS which comes in both male and female versions). I know it’s temporary and will pass, but it seemed like good blog fodder.

Besides loneliness for the non-GPS leaning spouse, here are some other things that go on once a GPS is actually used while driving:

Blabber – I asked Bill to turn off the machine’s speech yesterday as we were driving to Pasadena. Everytime I opened my mouth, the machine would literally interrupt me with some bit of information not strictly necessary, like repeating an instruction every 1/4 mile or so. I know-it’s just a machine but it really pissed me off! I found myself unreasonably insulted that this woman in a box wouldn’t let me speak to my husband. I’m not a jealous person, but this made me wonder…

Interesting accents – these machines give you a choice not only of male and female voices, but also different accents. Currently, the Nuvi has an Australian fellow (named “Lee” by the software writers) and he is amazingly easy to understand; I like Lee. The TomTom has a regular American English female on it right now (I hate her, that husband-stealing bitch).

Inability to pronounce foreign street names – as you may know, a lot of things out here in California have Spanish names. The streets in my particular tract are ALL in Spanish. Some of the letters in Spanish have different sounds than English. For instance, if you see the letter “L” doubled in a word, it is a unique Spanish letter that sounds like an English letter “Y”. And the letter “H” is silent in Spanish. For example “Calle Hogar” would be pronounced “Ka yay Oh gar“. However, Lee the Australian virtual navigator has a lot of trouble with this. He believes the name of the street is “Call Hogger”. I found that absolutely hilarious the first time I heard it. Also a street named “Rojas” where the “J” sounds like an “H” in Spanish is pronounced “Rajiss” by Lee (it should be “Ro haas”). Not as funny, but still amusing.

The ding – On the Nuvi, a ding is sounded as an attention getter before instructions are spoken. It is identical to the ding you hear on a jet before takeoff when they want you to listen closely before a safety announcement. So the first few times I heard the ding on the GPS, I was compelled to recite the mantra “Please turn off your cell phone and extinguish all smoking materials now”. The ding has now been muted.

Getting there – The system actually works. Sometimes it maps out a route that is circuitous instead of taking a known shortcut, but it seems that you will get to your destination most of the time (I’d still keep a mapbook in the car though – you never know if that pesky satellite you’re locked on to will be obstructed or whatever it is that happens when the GPS announces that it has lost the satellite).

So, now you know the hazards and pitfalls involved when your spouse catches the GPS bug. Take precautions now and do not let him or her wander into electronic stores alone. Monitor their internet usage and lock out inappropriate electronic sales websites. You will be glad you did.

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