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 the town where we have lived for 20 years. That is in Belgium. Not somewhere in Timbuktu or Dirrawaara...
It is embarrassing. Sometimes, in our town, people give me driving instructions, using landmarks or the names of big squares.. I never remember those names. So most of the time, they have to scroll back and try give me driving instructions starting from:
- "But what places *do* you know then?"
- "Euh, the railway station?"
- "You just moved here or what?..", soon follows as a question
Then I have to blush and confess: "I moved here twenty years ago".
I guess my mind only has a limited storage capacity. My mind can only store so many things at a time, and I guess I concentrate on the most important stuff in life. 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 of that road 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 dozens of times before... Still, 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'.
2. Two months later. The affair.
OK, I have a confession to make. I have a new woman in my life. She has a soft, deep erotic voice. She is from the same part of the world as I am. She is Flemish. Never argues with me. Softly gives me hints on the road of life. She is wise. Drives to work with me every morning, and waits in the car until I decide to go home again. Perfect woman. She is always happy, no matter how my mood is. Is always there when I need her, even if I don’t speak to her for days in a row, and keep her locked up.
Her name is Ula, according to her label. The label given by the man I bought her from. But I don’t call her with that name. It reminds me of a Swedish lady who once worked with us in Kampala, and almost burned down the office by dumping a burning cigarette in a wastebasket filled with paper. Twice. That was a big woman that Ula..
No, my Ula, Tine and I just call ‘Zoeteke’, Flemish for “Honey” or “Sweetie” (E. would say).. Yep, Tine, my wife, knows about her. Actually Tine encouraged me to get her before we drove to Italy. And ‘Zoeteke’ helped us all along the way…
“Zoeteke” is the lady in my GPS. I love her. Without her I would be lost in Rome, which has nothing like the US system “On the corner of “Fifty seventh and Third”, but more “at the end of Colombo, before you hit 'the wall', turn right and then try to turn left even if you are not allowed to”. She is my saviour in anxious and confusing times. My only anchor when I get onto troubled roads again.
She greets me every morning with “No GPS signal”, her way of saying “Hey, I missed you, how are you today?”. She loves it when I take her for a spin, when I miss an exit on a roundabout, and loves it when I do it all again.
She has a built-in sixth sense for the radar speed checks. She starts beeping when I approach one. When I am speeding close to a speed trap, she gives a different high pitched noise, and gets really excited, chirping like a bird. In some places, the speed checks are so close together, that she gives several chirps after another. She chirps as if she is really looses herself, and bleeps like there was no tomorrow. I think this is her version of an orgasm. I love it to satisfy her, and would only start speeding to hear her making that noise of utter excitement!
Being a typical woman, she does not get along very well with other women. Once my friend E. took her ‘female companion’ into my car, and both GPS-ladies gave different advice where to drive, as if it was like they loved to disagree. At any given time, we expected them to start arguing ‘You cow, I tell you, they need to turn right here. You know ziltch. I know, I am younger and have a more recent update. You are dirt, you. You cheap piece of electronics…” We had to switch one off, as their verbal flood was confusing us.
Yep without my “Zoeteke” I would be lost.
3. New Woman, New Trouble.
Ok. Typical female again. One day after I wrote ravingly about the new woman in my life, I finally had my first argument with her. I was coming back from an evening dinner, and was somewhere in the middle of town. Had left her in the car, as usual. She must have been upset, stubborn, did not want to help me anymore. Did not even want to speak to me. No sound, no vision. Did not switch on. And without apparent reason.. Ha. Typical!
I tried to touch all parts of her, which I knew normally would turn her on, but nothing helped. Not a sound. Not one reaction. My GPS-woman was dead. So I had to do it by myself. I mean the driving. And you know what? It worked out well too. I can do without her, I learned. I don’t have to be dependent on a woman. Yeah!
I have to confess on the way home from Rome to Fiumicino, I missed an exit on a roundabout, and got back onto the same highway. Opposite direction. Back to Rome I went. I did the logical thing any man would do, took the first exit. Which seemingly was the one for the highway to Civitavecchia. First exit: ten kilometres further. And that exit had a toll booth. I paid, turned around, paid again to get onto the highway and drove back home. I did 60 km instead of the usual 20, but hey, *I could live without her*!
During the whole trip, I kept on arguing with her. My flood of insults, arguments and finally, pleading and begging did not matter, she did not say a word. Did not move. Did not switch on. Even shaking her did not help.
A typical woman. You start depending on them, and then they run off. Abandon you, shatter your life, destabilizing your “raison d’ être”, your reason to live.
I threatened to replace her with the Italian woman which was also available to me, at the flip of a switch (the same Italian woman I tried out just for a while, just to get the feeling of it, when I bought the GPS), even though that one has a sharp bitchy voice like a ninety year old grandma who forgot to put in her false teeth. It really made it difficult to undershhtand the direcshhtionshh. Or the German one, who – yep you guessed it – sounds like sssshe vvvould vvvhip me if I’d made a mistake by not following her explicit instructions.
No, truth being told, between you and me, dear reader, my Flemish woman, my “Zoeteke” is my GPS-woman of choice. But I never really told her. You know how women are…
Then I discovered a little hidden button labelled ‘Reset’.. Maybe that could help bringing my woman back into my life. But njet.. Nada. Niente. Zitch…
It was back to the manual. The book about ‘Life with women’, ‘The dummies guide on How to Treat Women’, my Bible. My Koran. My Talut: The Mio 710C manual.
It showed there was a way to disconnect the battery and do a hard reset, to start all over again.
And … plop… All of a sudden the world looked different. There was hope for all of us, for world peace, to end child hunger and free love for everyone: my “Zoeteke” came back to life. She greeted me just as she did any other morning, with a sweet: “No GPS signal”. Like nothing had happened. Like there had not been an argument, not a case where she abandoned me without a reason. Like there had been no insults, no threads, no flirting with other GPS-women from my part.
It was clear she wanted to give me another chance. And me, I did not mention any of the trouble neither. I did not tell her how I missed her. How I really wanted her more than any of the other women in my GPS. How I got so lost without her. I mean 60 km instead of 20 km to get back home, is pretty “lost” if you know what I mean! (and those quotes around “lost”, are of the kind with double-finger gestures and eyebrows slightly raised!)
I learned my lesson: I guess the worse for a woman is to be taken for granted. How often do we, men, not forget that there is a woman living with us. Someone who guides us through the myriad, the chaos, the labyrinth and pitfalls of life. While driving or not. Someone who is always there when we need them. At the flick of a switch. Always with a smile and with warm love… And we keep them locked up in our cars for days in a row?
From that day on, my relationship with the ‘new woman in my life’, changed. I smile at her in the morning. When she greets me with “No GPS signal”, I now answer “Yeah it is a lovely morning, isn’t it?”. And when she gives me directions, I always thank her. I chat to her, while driving in the car, to show I do not take her for granted. When I come home, I don’t leave her in the car anymore, but give her a place of honour in the house. I even bring flowers for her, from time to time. And look. She loves it. Look at the smile!
Robert, my room-slash-house mate, started smiling at her too. I warned him: “Robert, she is mine. Stay away…”
Do you think I should keep an eye on them? Maybe hire a private detective.. Just to see he does not fiddle with her. You know how women are once you push their buttons. And I am sure that Robert would not be able to resist her smile and deep exotic voice.. Even though it would take a while before he discovers how she gets completely ecstatic when you speed with her through the multiple radar checkpoints, climaxing into a digital orgasm of chirping high pitched sounds. I will not tell anyone. Will keep it my secret.
One thing is for sure. If Robert touches her, I want pictures to prove it. Now that I think of it, I *will* hire that private detective.
I went out for dinner last night. When I got into the car, I realized something was different. She was no longer there. Zoeteke, the new woman in my life, was gone. Even her charger cable was gone. Could not have been Robert. He was not home. Someone broke into my car and stole her. Adds me to the 10% of the cars in Rome which get broken into every year. I wonder who she is riding with now?
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