There I was driving on the highway and listening … no, obeying, every word that the GPS Satellite Navigation System lady is telling me.
Turn left, go right, keep straight ahead … and so on.
To be honest, she was doing pretty good and was not reading the map upside down as happens when I have a certain person next to me guiding the way. Not once did the GPS lady say “you should have taken the left turn we just passed” half a mile after we passed it. And she never told me to watch out for that cyclist, and I’m too near the parked cars, or that I was going too fast in a built-up area.
I was very impressed with the soft spoken GPS lady, especially since she never shouted that I don’t listen and where did I ever learn to drive.
But she did something very strange.
She suddenly said, “I’m going for a comfort break”.
“Hein?” I thought.
Then there was a lot of chatting in the background. A number of female voices talking about all sort of things. They talked about knitting patterns and the price of wool, then they talked about cooking and the best way to make pizza dough, and after that they started gossiping about various TV programs and celebrities.
It was obvious that the GPS lady had abandoned me and left her microphone on; and I was listening to her colleagues chatting amongst themselves in between calls and giving directions to their vehicle drivers.
I continued driving since you’re not allowed to stop on the highway and I prayed and hoped as every mile went by that she’d soon return from her comfort break and direct me to my destination.
I slowed down a little to give her time to get ready, wash her hands, that sort of thing, and return to me.
As the miles went by on my dashboard meter there was no sign of my GPS lady and plenty of signs of my nervous tension reaching new heights.
Then I saw that the highway was splitting into two some miles ahead. I read the notices above the highway saying that to the left you go somewhere or other, and to the right you go somewhere or other totally different.
But which way is my way? I knew where I wanted to reach my destination but did not know how to get there. If I took either of the two roads ahead I could well end up miles from where I wanted to go. I had a pressing meeting to attend and I could not afford to get there late.
I decided to get off the highway and stop at the safest place possible. I got out of the car and searched for an old map book I knew I had. If modern technology gave up on me I’ll get back to the old and tested technology.
A few minutes later a police car drew up and stopped behind me. Two huge policemen in high visibility jackets came out and approached me.
“What seems to be the problem Sir?” asked one of them, “has your car broken down?”
“No … the car’s OK,” I replied hesitantly, “It’s my GPS lady …”
“GPS lady? You mean the announcer on your system. What’s the matter with her?”
“She’s gone for a comfort break!”
“What?” asked the incredulous policeman.
“The GPS lady directing me to my destination said she needed the toilet about half an hour ago and she hasn’t come back!”
Try as I might I could not convince the two policemen what had happened. They suspected I’d been drinking and asked that I take a breathalyzer test there and then to check the level of alcohol in my system, followed by urine and blood tests at the police station.
I protested and they threatened to arrest me. I took the breathalyzer test which of course was negative. I was as sober as a judge who’d lost his GPS lady.
Then it occurred to me to tell them that she left her microphone open and I could hear her colleagues chatting about cooking and knitting.
They approached the vehicle and opened the door. Mercifully, her colleagues were still chatting away. This time they were talking about ballroom dancing.
“Sir,” said the second policeman in a stern face which he could hardly keep straight, “this is Women’s World on the radio. You must have inadvertently turned off the GPS system!”
They let me off with a warning to be more careful, and went away to write their report.
My GPS lady guided me to my destination, albeit somewhat late.