Monday, January 11, 2010

Recalculating ... Recalculating.

When I drove across country last summer I started out the old fashioned way: with an Atlas and a cell phone. But as will be the case with the Lila Navigation System, I encountered hiccups and wrong turns along the way. Luckily, I knew I could always call up my buddy Andy in Cleveland and ask him to get me back on track. But after a few calls for help Andy indicated it really wasn’t his lifelong dream to be my human atlas. When I stopped during the trip to see him and his wife Mindy, they presented me with a gift: The Garmin GPS. Of course, I was very grateful for this thoughtful gift but thought, Why do I need a GPS? I think they secretly feared without it I’d drive myself to Afghanistan. I named my global positioning system Garmina and off we drove.

Garmina and I got along beautifully and saw some gorgeous parts of the country. She never led me astray, even in some desolate areas. Once we arrived in Portland, she continued to get me where I needed to go. But as the weeks passed I realized I was becoming too reliant on her. Like a co-dependant relationship, I needed her and she loved being needed. Andy encouraged me to put her away and navigate around town on my own. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.Then, things started to change. There was the time Garmina tried to send me into the Willamette River. I forgave her that. Then, there was the incident involving a moving train. I gave her a pass on that bit of a blunder as well. But, finally, this past week as I sat at a stop light at the corner of Burnside and Sandy - a corner I’m convinced city planners mapped out while drinking moonshine - Garmina tried to send me in a direction I knew was wrong. I ignored her… only to hear her repeatedly snap in her snotty voice RecalculatingRecalculating….Recalculating!  Finally, I thought: recalculate *this* Garmina! and communicated to her with a gesture of my own. I was beginning to despise her.

Ironically, the next day my friend Nat invited me over for a screening of a video short he and his father had produced. Titled His True Love, it’s a story of a man’s deep emotional love with his GPS. I told Nat I couldn’t wait to see it. Turns out, it was terrific! ( I couldn’t deny the opposite parallels between this video and recent events in my life. Here was a man whose day seemed complete just by the sound of a sexy British female voice telling him where to go while my cranky GPS female voice plotted to kill me!

I guess it all comes down to direction in life: when to rely on others and when to count on ourselves. Sure, it can be scary and we all get lost at times but it’s those times when we find our own way out, without help from others that can be the most gratifying. So I’ve decided to put Garmina away for now only to bring her out for roads trips to unfamiliar places. And I’ve learned there are voice options to these GPS devices. So soon SHE will be a HE. And how can a girl resist a sexy Australian male voice … even if he does try to send her into the Willamette River?

** For more videos from the producer of His True Love go to


  1. I've resisted getting a GPS, I hate people that rely on them so much, they can't even read street signs anymore. I've had people trying to find our office that call & you tell them how to get here & they say.... well - that isn't what my GPS says! Sometimes, you really need to look around outside. Hope all is well - Barb

  2. Barb girl, my GPS has gotten me out of binds and has gotten me into binds. I remember the days when there were no such things as GPS! Great to hear from you.