Saturday, December 18, 2010
I think it would be awesome if the voice on your GPS automatically picked up the dialect and accent from wherever you happened to be driving. For example in New York you might hear your device tell you, "Okay, ya friggin' mook, youse gonna make a right up here on Toity-Fit Street. And don't slow down, unless youse wanna get car-jacked."
In the south: "Honey-chile, y'all gonna head on down to Peach Blossom Hah-way and make a li'l ol' raht hay-und turn."
And of course in Southern California: "Dude, we are like totally lost. You got any more weed?"
But I think the GPS program on my Blackberry has a learning disability. Either that, or it's a sinister electronic bitch, possibly a distant relative of HAL 9000, hell-bent on orchestrating my bloody demise. I subscribe to the Verizon navigation system known as Telenav, or as I lovingly refer to her, "Tele-Nag." While she's pretty accurate with her directions, which is more than I can say for some humans I know (lookin' at YOU, Mom), she's not as responsible with her timing. For example, last week I was cruising down Apple Valley Road when Tele-Nag informed me that my turn was coming up.
"PREPARE TO TURN RIGHT ON SENECA AVENUE."
I didn't know for sure where Seneca Avenue was, but I figured Tele-Nag would let me know when it was time to make the turn. I maintained a relatively safe speed, waiting for her cue.
"TURN RIGHT ON SENECA AVENUE," she said.
When I was twenty yards passed it. Friggin' idiot.
"RECALCULATING ROUTE," she said, with not even a hint of an apology.
"MAKE THE NEXT LEGAL U-TURN."
Legal, my ass. I flipped a U immediately, and headed back toward Seneca Avenue. Not trusting Tele-Bitch to warn me this time, I made what was now a left turn toward my destination. Eight seconds later, she finally got a clue.
"TURN LEFT ON SENECA AVENUE."
I'm a step ahead of you, moron.
"PREPARE TO TURN LEFT IN ONE POINT SIX MILES ON KWAT-ZACK-COLLET LANE."
Kwat the hell? I'd never heard of this street, and Tele-Mumbles wasn't helping at all. What did that even start with? K? C? I drove very slowly, looking for anything that might be close.
Sitting Bull Road? Nope.
Pocahontas Drive? Not even close.
"PREPARE TO TURN LEFT IN POINT FOUR MILES ON KWAT-SILK-CODDLE LANE."
Cherokee Canyon Lane. Close enough. I hung a left.
"RECALCULATING ROUTE." I think I heard her let out a sarcastic chuckle.
"MAKE THE NEXT LEGAL U-TURN."
I made the next available U-turn. Legal, once again, was someone else's problem. I retraced my steps, and turned back on to Seneca. That's when I noticed the police flashers in my rear-view. Shit.
"I SAID, LEGAL U-TURN, DUMMY. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THIS TICKET IS GOING TO COST YOU?"
Turns out this is a pretty sophisticated navigation system Verizon's come up with. I exited out of the program so she didn't screw things up with the cop who was approaching from behind. I rolled down the window.
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
About ten witty replies came to mind, but since I didn't think blaming my Blackberry would get me very far and the other responses would've resulted in either prison time or a beating, I played it by the book.
"Exactly. License and registration please."
Fifteen minutes later, I turned Tele-Nag back on and continued on my route.
Shut up, bitch. And hey, weren't you turned off?
"ARE YOU ANGRY WITH ME, CHRIS? OH, AND TURN RIGHT ON KWAT-SUCK-KITTY LANE."
I looked at the sign. Quetzalcoatl Lane. This must be the place.
Eventually I reached my destination, which was the Verizon store. I'm trading Tele-Nag in for a Droid and whatever navigation program it comes with.
It better not be named HAL.