She’s Not Siri but She’ll do!

8 03 2015

It’s almost embarrassing to share this, but then I realize there are probably many in my generation in the same boat. I have technology available to me, which I have simply made no effort to learn. As long as my computer or my smart phone does what is essential, I make little or no effort to learn any of its other capabilities. In other words, I’m satisfied with the status quo.


Tuesday evening, I had to get from Plattsburgh, in upstate New York, to my hotel in Burlington, Vermont, in the snow and the dark; so, I pulled up my handy-dandy Droid with its electronic brains and unparalleled geographic knowledge and punched in the coordinates. Okay, I entered the addresses but punching in coordinates sounds so much better. It’s a guy thing. Now, all I was trying to do was pull up the map showing me the recommended route to take. I figured, as always, just give me the map with the road numbers and names and I can take it from there. But then I noticed something on the screen I had not noticed before. There was a message reading, “Begin Navigation Now.” Wondering what would happen, I gave it a gentle touch.


Speak to me, Droidett.

Speak to me, Droidett.

“In 1000 feet turn right onto Wall Street.” Hey! It speaks, and with a female voice. My Droid is a Droidett! Until that magic moment, I assumed that only iPhones did that. I followed the precise directions turn-by-turn until I reached the street on which my hotel was located. Then, just as I was about to turn into the driveway of my hotel, “In one quarter mile, your destination will be on your right.”


No, that wasn’t true. It was right there in front of me. I was parking in the parking lot of my destination. Still, the voice repeated, “In one quarter mile, your destination will be on your right.”


Well, I just wrote it off as a mistake on the part of MapQuest or whoever was behind this geographic faux pas and got out of the car into the blowing snow and minus 5 degree wind chill.


At the front desk, my concerns of being at the wrong Hampton Inn were allayed when the desk clerk had my reservation. So, as I stood there registering, I heard a muffled voice coming from my coat pocket…“In one quarter mile, your destination will be on your right.”


I looked around and although there were plenty of people, none were close to me. It took me a moment to realize where the voice was coming from and, when I finally did, I ignored it. But then, two minutes later, there it was again; so, I pulled my phone from my pocket and tried in vain, amid the crowd in the lobby, to shut it off. How on earth do you shut this thing up? What was a comforting voice only ten minutes ago was now an embarrassing annoyance. Will I be forced to get a new phone because this voice won’t stop trying to get me to drive another thousand feet? Finally, I noticed another message near the bottom of the screen saying something like “End Navigation.” That did it. She finally stopped.


Now jump forward. The next day, I flew into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. I needed to get from there to my hotel du jour, which was 20 miles from the airport. Hey, I’ll use my newly found navigatetress to direct my way. I entered the requisite information and headed out. My electronic way-finder worked beautifully. After parking my car at the Hilton in Lisle, IL, I sat there behind the wheel for several minutes waiting for the voice to continue, while trying in vain to find that message, “End Navigation.”I didn’t want a repeat of the embarrassing moment from the night before. I finally gave up and went inside to check in. After getting registered, I was standing inside the elevator on my way to the fifth floor when I heard singing. My first thought was my SIRI sound-alike was continuing to give me directions only now in melodic harmony. Then I realized I was hearing Taylor Swift piped into the elevator.


After giving the whole situation some thought, I concluded that the Navigator shuts itself off when you reach your destination; but, until you reach your destination, it will keep blasting out directions until the Rapture occurs or the charge dies, whichever comes first. So let that be a warning to you…if you use your GPS to get you to a funeral, you’d better darned well make sure you get to the right funeral.





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