1. Tine wants me to buy a GPS for the car.
You know one of those gimmicks that talks you through to a destination point. And she wants me to buy it fast, as in one month's time we will be driving from Belgium to Italy for our annual family skiing holiday. Each year we have one peak of sweat, blood and tears (and fierce discussions), when -once again- I miss an exit on the highway, or make the wrong turn, or just 'loose it'. I am terrible in finding my way around. Somehow I always get to where I have to be - I guess I have a built in compass like the pigeons- but most of the time it is with a big detour, though ! I am just terrible. I have travelled to the world's most deserted and most remote places, and still, I loose my way in our village, where we have lived for 20 years.
I guess my mind only has limited storage capacity (The staff in Afghanistan always thought it was funny when I wore my Tshirt 'Fatal error - Run out of Memory' with a Windows pop up screen). My mind can only store so many things at a time, and I guess I concentrate on the most important stuff. Remembering how to find my way from point A to point B, I do not consider important. Once I have driven a road, the memory is popped from my brain stack, and forgotten. Even if I drove it ten times..
Like the other weekend, I was driving to my brother's home, and had to call him to ask directions. Wouldn't be so bad if I had not been there ten times before... The proof of the not-importance was right there: I was driving to his home, to help him move. So you see: the driving instructions would have been irrelevant memory information, as one day later, 'he would not live there anymore'.
It is embarrassing, though.. Sometimes, in our town/village, people give me driving instructions, by using landmarks or the names of big squares.. I never remember those names. So most of the time, they have to scroll back and first give me driving instructions starting from:
- "But what places *do* you know then?"
- "Euh, the railway station?"
Soon follows by the question "You just moved here or what?"..
Then I have to blush and confess: "I moved here two decades ago".
The expression on their faces each time reminds me of Tine: 'Buy a GPS!'. And now it became a hot item again, this GPS, as the skiing road trip is coming up again.
2. The Navigation Voice
You know, you can download the voices for the GPS navigation. 'Turn left at the next turn', 'Take the next exit within 500 meters'. John Cleese's voice is one of them. They just released that of 'world famous' (yeah rrrright) Belgian TV personality Paul Jambers. I heard him being interviewed, the other morning when driving back from Hannah's school (yep, I can find my way back from her school easily now!).
Mr Jambers mentioned the voice they recorded was not his, but that of an imitator. Asked if he did not mind, he answered "No, because that must have been a lot of work. Imagine having to record all directions for all the Belgian roads. That is a LOT! And imagine if you have to do that for the whole of Europe!". Proves my point you don't have to be intelligent to be a TV personality.
3. Machines Take over Our Lives
A friend of mine just bought a GPS, and drove through the Alps. By accident, he had put the GPS setup-preferences on 'The Shortest Route'. He said he thought something was wrong, when he branched off the highway and started to drive through hardly-paved roads. He *knew* something was wrong, when the machine lead him onto roads which split farmer's barns and outdoor loo's.
4. Other Uses of GPS navigation
I wonder what the GPS navigation system in the Humvees of the foreign troops in Iraq have on them:
- "At the next building, looking like a tall tower, with a balcony, where a guy shouts 5 times per day, you turn left"
- "This leads you into sniper alley, where 15 of your comrades died over the past year". "Let me update that: 16".
- "Now turn right, as on the road ahead the wrecks from last weeks bomb attack have not been cleaned up yet".
- "You now pass the house which was raided by ten US troops last week. They arrested a fourteen year old girl. The rest of the story, you can read on CNN."
- "If an angry crowd awaits you at this market place, take a left".
- "You are now driving by a landmark we knew had no WMD's stored in them. Even though we told the UN security council the opposite."
- "You have now arrived at your destination. The sites to admire here are the prison cells famous for their video shots of prisoners leached like dogs and forced to have sex with each other".
5. More of the Same
What would Al Queda's GPS navigation systems say?
- "You are now driving by an excellent target, available when you have time for a suicide attack"
- "At the Embassy of the Infidels, turn right"
- "You have now arrived at your destination. Knock three times and give the password 'F**k the Infidels'. Fusing mechanisms are on sale this week."
6. Irish joke
It all makes me think of the joke my friend Pete once told me: "I was in Ireland and asked a guy directions to the next supermarket. The guy answered 'Sirrr, if I werrrre you, I wouldn't be starrrrrting from herrrrre !' "
What do you think, should I buy a GPS navigation system?
Tine paid me $5 to put the following advertisement:
"Tell him to buy a freaking GPS! "