Beware the Whims of DASHWOOD DOLLY

November 1, 2008 | By More

I live with two “directionally challenged” individuals — my husband, and my middle child. Now my child will readily admit to this handicap but my husband is a different story. He swears he is never lost.

This is an argument that occurs on almost every trip my husband and I take together. I will say, “Do you know where you are going?” As in, ‘I think we are going the wrong way.’

My husband will reply, “Yes, I know where we are going!” As in, ‘I know our destination.’ This further translated means, ‘I may not know exactly how to get there, but I will figure it out.’

At this point, I say something like, “We’re lost.”

To which he replies, “No, we are NOT lost,” and the bickering begins. You see, if my husband can tell you what state he is in then, according to him, he is not “lost”. (I am exaggerating, but only a little.)

I on the other hand consider us ‘lost’ if we do not know which street or exit to take next. (On that, I am not exaggerating.)

Donald then begins his whole spiel about how he doesn’t know how he survived the first 26 years of his life without me telling him where and how to get somewhere. I agree with him — I do not know how he managed.

He ends his lecture by telling me he traversed the country all by himself and never got lost. However, I do believe taking a few wrong turns and backtracking were a part of the process. (He wants me to make sure I remind our readers that to him that is not the same thing as being “lost”. Okay, whatever.)

Not too long ago, Donald and I were taking a trip see our son at Oklahoma State University. We were driving through Tulsa when Donald wanted coffee. He thought there was a Starbucks at the next exit.

I was busy talking on the phone with my friend Lisa. There was no Starbucks at the exit, and as I continued to talk, Donald continued to drive. Finally, I asked him where we were going. He said he didn’t know.

At that point, I told Lisa, “Hey, I need to go. We are lost,” to which Donald emphatically replied, “We are NOT lost.” I then said, “Lisa, Donald wants me to make sure and tell you weareNOTlost.IstillneedtogosoIcan look at a map and figure out where we are.”

There is just something in me that screams ‘if you have to pull over to the side of the road and look at a map to figure out where you are then that means you are LOST.’ Now remember according to Donald, he knew we were in Oklahoma and better yet, he knew we were in Tulsa so therefore, we were NOT lost.

Enter the scorned GPS system. The GPS was a graduation gift for our “directionally challenged” child Dillon. Let me explain how bad the situation is. This child has traveled back and forth from Russellville to Jonesboro his entire life.

Finally, we allowed Dillon and his older brother Adrin, to drive this trip alone. We figured they would be fine since Adrin had made this trip many times by himself. This time however, Dillon would be driving. Being well aware of Dillon’s “directionally challenged” condition, Adrin asked Dillon, “Do you know how to get there?” Dillon replied, “Yes, we take the exit at Conway.”

Adrin, feeling satisfied by that answer, promptly went to sleep. As Dillon approached Conway, he could not remember which exit he was supposed to take. Does he wake Adrin up and ask? No. He just continues to drive telling himself he will figure it out.

Sound like anyone mentioned previously? By the time, Adrin wakes up and discovers they have missed the exit they are almost to Little Rock. Dillon had decided it would be funny just to keep driving until he got to a mall in Little Rock and then wake Adrin and say, “We’re here”. When Adrin asked Dillon where they were, Dillon responded with a big grin on his face, “I have no idea”. And, like his father, Dillon will tell you he was NOT lost. Adrin promptly called and said, “We are lost.”

Just to make sure, this GPS would truly help Dillon, Donald and I decided to try it out on a trip to Houston. We were going there to pick up a car we had purchased on eBay and to see my cousin.

The first thing I noticed was that if you deviated at all from the preset course this little GPS voice would repeatedly say “recalculating” or something similar. It was very annoying.

When we arrived in Houston, it was rush hour. Houston gives a completely new definition to “traffic”. We were trying to use the GPS to find an alternate route but it wanted us to take routes that were closed due to construction.

That is when I first mentioned to Donald that I thought the GPS was a worthless.

My thought was confirmed the next day as we made our way into downtown Houston. We had picked up the eBay car and were now in two separate vehicles.

Having already become suspicious of the GPS, I decided to look up the directions to our hotel on the computer using Map quest. With my cousin’s help, I discovered that we would only need to make one right turn and one left turn.

Donald had decided to rely on his GPS and not look at my map. As we approached downtown Houston I was following Donald and he made a turn that was not on my map. I immediately called him and asked him where he was going. My dislike for the GPS grew stronger as he told me he was following directions. We made many rights and lefts getting to our hotel. When we finally arrived, I expressed my discontent. Donald replied, “It got us here didn’t it?”

My frustration continued to increase the next morning. Fortunately, I had decided to pick up a map of downtown Houston. As we were pulling out of the hotel-parking garage, we made a right turn. I blindly followed, giving my husband and his GPS one more try.

In just a few moments, my phone rang and my husband said he misread the GPS and we are headed in the wrong direction. He tells me to follow him — he has it figured out. I began to regret not looking at that map before we left the hotel.

I follow, only to find myself with the interstate we need to be on located above our heads. Oh, we can see the road we are suppose to be on we just do not know how to get on it. I pull into a parking lot and get out my map of downtown Houston. No more GPS for me, this girl is doing it the old fashion way. I want to know steps one, two, three, and ten all at one time – not one-step at a time. It is his turn to follow me.

With my impression firmly established that a GPS is not reliable, we prepared to send Dillon on his first solo trip to Stillwater, Okla. As Donald enters all the information into the GPS, I print off a map from Map quest and go over every detail with Dillon. I am not about to trust my “directionally challenged” child to whims of Dashboard Dolly (the GPS).

Dillon makes it to Stillwater just fine. He tells his father he used the GPS and did not need any of “mom’s maps”. Yeah, right. The reason he could use the GPS was that mom had gone over the whole trip with him using a map. (I know this is true because, twice while coming home from Stillwater he has called and said, “I think I am going the wrong way.” Sure enough, Dashboard Dolly had led him astray.)

When I shared this with his father, in my best, ‘I told you so’ voice, he informed me that Dillon would have eventually gotten home following Dolly’s directions.

So while Donald and I continue to debate the definition of the word “lost” and the wisdom of paying $200 for a device that will EVENTUALLY get me where I want to go — my advice to all of you with “directionally challenged” relatives — keep a map handy.

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Category: Every Day Life

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