The English language is beautiful, full of rich words evoking images and emotions. There are, of course, words I would eliminate, like “hate,” “cancer,” and various cusses which, although I understand what they mean and why we say them, are just nasty. Those are the ones my children take naughty pleasure in and which I, as a parent, try to get them to say less of. But I recently added a word to the list of what I recognize as curse words which has nothing to do with bodily fluids or procreation. It is the word “recalculating.”
The elements saying it are the two GPS units I use. Yes, I alternate between the app on my phone which places great demand on my data plan and the cheap unit I bought before I got the Smartphone. I do, in fact, need them both because I can literally get lost backing out of my driveway. One of my son’s first phrases was, “Mom, are we lost AGAIN?”
GPS units are wonderful, in theory, but I think they lie. Often I tell one of the “ladies” (they have female voices because I will NOT take direction from a man’s voice) where I want to go and blindly follow their directions because, after all, they’re super intelligent computers that know where to go, right? I listen to them carefully, putting all my faith in their satellite positioning system thingies and inevitably, after I make a turn they TOLD me to make, I hear, “recalculating.”
I know I should not take that personally. After all, it’s a computer speaking, not my husband, but I do. To me, “recalculating” is computer-speak for, “Hey, you moron! You made a wrong turn! Can’t you do anything right?” Irrational, yes, but that’s what I hear.
I suppose I could blame the mistakes on obsolete maps, however, the GPS on my phone claims to have the most up-to-date maps available. So I don’t understand why it recently directed me to a dead end and took me in a circle around a friend’s neighborhood. “Mom, why are we doing this?” wailed my children. Because the GPS is sadistic, I thought, avoiding the inevitable discussion of sadism that would result if I said it out loud.
The resolution: if at all possible, I still look up maps online before I venture out. I methodically write down the directions, looking to the GPS only for confirmation. And I study a map so that I’ll know if I’ve gone too far (i.e. if I hit the ocean or Newark, turn around). As a last resort, I consult the tried and true DPS as in Dave Positioning System. My husband, Dave, has an enviable compass in his brain that could get him off a deserted island.
I’d rather hang my head and admit to my husband that, once again, I am lost. I’d rather deal with the shame of being “directionally challenged.” At this point, I’ll do almost anything to avoid hearing that dreaded curse: recalculating.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.