I have a GPS system in my car, which I think stands for Go Past Streets. It’s very complicated. The little arrow isn’t pointing the right way. If I come to an intersection and the blue line indicating the route I should take is off to the right, I turn right. Then I see that the arrow (my car) is heading away from the blue line.

This is pretty confusing, and I spend a lot of time making U-turns. I didn’t understand it until today when I was giving someone a ride and he started showing me the features. “The arrow is the direction you’re going right now. See, it’s pointing north.”

“But it feels like I’m going south.”

“Nope, that’s north. See the airport in that green area?”

“Oooooh, I get it. So if it’s pointing north, and the blue line is turning east, then I have to make a left,” I said.

“Well, no, you’d be going west then.”

“Oh, so which way is east?”

“It’s where the “3” would be on the clock if your GPS was a clock.”

“Oooooo, I can remember that. I’ll call it “threast!” I was excited after all these months that I could finally understand at least that part of the GPS.

When I first got the car, there was a lady in the dashboard who told me where to go all the time. “Turn right in 500 feet.” She jabbered constantly. I felt like I had a 7-year-old girl in there. “Whatcha doin? Do you want to watch me? Watch me do this? You aren’t watching. Watch me now.” She’d interrupt my favorite songs to tell me stuff even when I didn’t program a destination. “Go home now?” and “You’re gas is getting low.” It was annoying but I was okay with it until she started getting personal. “Are you wearing THAT today?” and “You need to pluck that wild chin hair.” She took her job a little too seriously.

I had to go with my brother yesterday to drop off his car at a mechanic in Vancouver, a few miles away and neither of us knew how to get there. I told him I’d lead because I had the GPS. We got on the freeway and I guess I got a little ahead in all the traffic, so I was trying to watch my rearview mirror and watch for the exit, too. My GPS showed I was supposed to exit, but there were two ramps, and just as the one I was supposed to take appeared on the screen, the phone rang. To my dismay, the phone screen came on and the map disappeared. Which one should I take?”

It was my brother. “Where are you?” he said.

“I just exited, but I’m on a ramp and I don’t know whether to go right or left because I can’t see the map while I’m on the phone.”

“Oh,” he said. “Then I’ll hang up and call you back.”

I watched the screen anxiously but it stayed on the phone. I guess it wanted to make sure I knew how long I’d talked, to whom I was speaking, and – absolutely essential information – that I had disconnected the call. This last was so important that the disconnect screen stayed up for many minutes. I’m sure glad that pesky GPS didn’t rush back and interrupt the screen showing that I had disconnected from my brother. This was information I NEEDED to know.

As usual I made the wrong choice because the blue line started twisting around like a pretzel. I had to make another U-turn. I could see that I would have to turn right soon because a little side-screen came up to alert me it was coming, but before I could see what street I was supposed to turn on and how far it would be, the phone rang again.

“Where are you?” my brother asked.

“I was about to find out just when you called.”

When he hung up, I made another u-turn and we both finally made it to the mechanic’s shop, though I don’t know how. I wish whoever made these things would know that I don’t need to have a screen showing the whole time I’m using my Bluetooth phone. Believe it or not, I know who I’m talking to – I don’t need to read it on the screen during the whole conversation. Other than that, I love my GPS – even though it does make me Go Past Streets all the time.