Routemanship Under Pressure

Yesterday, somewhat unusually, we went off to a club to enjoy a few slices of Egyptian belly dancing. A friend of my partners is in some group which has practised this for about ten years and she was now part of a concert or whatever you call it. We went off to support her. There was me, my partner and a friend of hers from her work. Her cousin, who is lovely, was to meet us there, which she duly did. Everything going well, nice Lebanese grub and a glass of wine. Can life get any better?

Finally the evening draws to a close and I am to drive everyone home, including the cousin, who lives in the same direction as us.

As you may know, I am a bit of a dab hand with technical products and was soon producing my Sat Nav machine so that “Jane”, which is what I call it, could direct us safely to our various ports of call before returning us home. I love my Sat Nav machine. It has guided me calmly all over the country and never seems to get irritated if I make a mistake. I have always thought there is room with these machines for a bit of moral boosting chatter between turnings.  Jane could utter various comments on your route  building your moral .  “I love the way you hold the steering wheel” and “Nice gear change” would add a little fillip to the journey making a pleasant change from the normal comments about your driving and routemanship.

Normally when my darling is guiding us  to some destination utterances are more like, “Left LEEEFT I said, you blithering idiot” suggesting I may have missed the turning or misunderstood her directions. This is fine, and always brings a smile to my lips. On one occasion she became so engrossed in the details of our journey that she suddenly leaned over and switched the indicator on. I was surprised but not alarmed. Her enthusiasm, though possibly misplaced, is always infectious.

Over time she has been worn down by my placid forbearance and largely accepts the presence of Jane. Somehow today was going to be different. Lovely Cousin soon piped up, “I don’t trust Sat Nav’s. You can end up driving into a ditch”. This may be true, though I have always found looking through the windscreen a useful tool in preventing this catastrophe.  I decided to let that pass. All the girls started chipping in on the subject and issuing a cacophony of instructions so that poor Jane, who only as one volume level, failed to make herself heard. Finally she managed to butt in to the exciting debate..

“At the next junction turn left” said Jane. For a computer her voice seemed more hesitant than normal, and I feared the questioning of her abilities was undermining her normal quiet confidence. “Straight On” said Lovely Cousin, and as a guest in our car I decided to humour her. Plenty of fuel so it didn’t really matter. Now everyone was chatting about routes and how well they knew this part of town. “Nice gear change” I whispered to myself trying to hang onto my sense of control. I could almost feel Jane smile. All roads lead to Rome, or in this case 147 Marlborough Street” so in due course we arrived. Almost hoarse with anxiety Jane whispered, “You have arrived at your Destination”. No one paid her any attention . Apart from me, that is, the silent witness to her patient brilliance.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in driving, Environment, Life, Relationships, skils and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Routemanship Under Pressure

  1. says:

    Ha ha! Driving. Directions. So true. My husband likes to tell me how to drive. I give him a limit of three friendly suggestions. 🙂


  2. Big Al says:

    It’s nice that you have developed such a good rapport with your “Jane”. My relationship with Grenelda, as I call her, is a bit more contentious. We’re in couples counseling now.


  3. backonmyown says:

    Delightful! It took me a while to figure out that a Sat Nav is what I call a GPS. Jill talks to me. But if I want I can switch from Jill to Jane and get a little practice with the British accent. I know. I know. Brits don’t have an accent, Americans do. LOL. I can only imagine how many turns I would miss if I listen to Jane as I tried to analyze “how it was she said that.”

    Keep’em coming.


  4. nelle says:

    Entertaining post what had me laughing out loud… I’ll share a quick tip, given to me by the person for whom I am named… ‘Always forward, never straight!’

    ‘Nice gear change’ might work as mechanical feedback, but if you get ‘Ooh, do that again!’ time to park and get out.


  5. GPS, Sat Navs or Jane(s) are bloody awesome. I had to divorce my Sat Nav when my lovely mobile came along. Not only is it a phone, it can connect you to the internet with a massive touch screen but the beauty about my phone is that its built in Sat Nav. So sadly my Sat Nav lived in the glove department of my car for a long time until I generously offered it to a friend. Admittedly I don’t miss it.


  6. renxkyoko says:

    Ahahah ! At first I thought Jane was a person. I was at the end of the read when I realized she was your computer navigator. ( aaargh, I’m so slow , hehehe)



  7. —Brilliant 🙂
    Jane must loooooooooove you!
    thanks for visiting my site… glad I could visit you, too.


  8. Barbara says:

    Since I can’t even remember the last time I had a ‘new’ new car I have to rely on my phone as ‘Jane’. It’s a fabulous tool and one of those things that make you ask how you ever lived without it.
    Thanks for the chuckle!


  9. Caroline says:

    I really need to give mine a better name than Tom Tom Turnaround! (Tom Tom is the name of a sat. nav in the UK). I rather fancy getting Terry Wogan to direct me (which is available) as I was very very fond of him on Radio 2. He got me to work and together on several occasions we made the nation laugh!!! Intriguing that isn’t it!


  10. Caroline says:

    Loved the description of the journey btw 🙂


  11. Shonnie says:

    What a wonderful tale of navigation. I like my naviagtion devices–but then I love all things gadgety–guess I am a go go gadget girl.

    Having said that, I am not a fun partner for navigation if you scare me as Mikey did on the mountains of Colorado where he drove down the middle of the highway blocking the travelers coming down the 14,000 foot mountain. There was nothing but rocky clifts below and Mikey was having a bad moment. So, I insulted him and called him bad names like, “Stupid, dumb A&&, and idiot.” Not for the reasons you might assume, for I was not angry with him, but I knew if I made him angry at me he would drive on our side of the road just to show me I was wrong. hehehe! 🙂


    • Beth says:

      Woman… I didn’t get that colorful a description when we met for dinner. That’s hilarious. Next time… I drive! The heights and windy roads don’t phase me. And since I’m the one who lives here, I’ll be the tour guide (even if I don’t know where we’re going).


      • Shonnie says:

        We must have talked about 100 subjects–I am very surprised we missed that one. We had a great time chatting — could have done it for days.

        The mountains don’t bother me either. We were in the wrong places and I realized it when I couldn’t take the wheel from him. I drove back and all was fine, but you should have seen Shannon’s face when she tried to “protect” Mike the driver when I told her in a very gruff voice that Mike was MINE and I would talk to him how ever I pleased. Thank you. I know my honey and just how to get him through it, but we all voted that I drive back. I explained this when Mike and Collin were gone for a hike. He knew what I did when he got over his panic. Hahaha!


  12. Great and funny piece! You and Jane seem to have worked things out, unlike most people in their love/hate relationship with their Nav systems. Ours speaks like she has a banana in her mouth. Phil calls her The Oracle. I don’t think she’s worthy of such a lofty name, since she’s not too quick on the uptake when it comes to “re-cow-clue-ating” a route and she brings us along some pretty convoluted routes. But she does usually find our destination. Eventually.


  13. Lady E says:

    Made me smile to end this day, brilliant! Thanks


  14. Sometimes my nav is my best friend.. and sometimes when it’s calculating.. its not lol. But I really enjoyed reading this.


  15. Miss Emm says:

    This is sooooo funny. My navigation is the only thing that can tell me what to do.


  16. scrambled7 says:

    Haha, this is the first time I’ve seen you write something about YOURSELF, your day, your life.
    I really liked this, it was entertaining. 🙂


  17. Jillsy Girl says:

    Maybe in the future updates, Jane will be able to carry on a cordial conversation! 😉


    • I think there is a lot they could do with GPS/ Sat Nav systems. A stream of praise is always welcome. Perhaps a couple of light recipees, or comments on the passing scenary. Finally you could have a secret “Shut Up” button which you could push if the passangers get too rowdy. That might be useful


  18. Beth says:

    Laugh. Out. Loud. Oh my gosh! I don’t own a SatNav/GPS, but used my friends’ when traveling from Kyllburg to Schwangau in Germany last year… Madam GPS (as I refer to her) got me to Schwangau without a hitch. On the way home, I was detouring through Geingen to see the Steiff Museum (the only teddy bear I have an interest in, it’s the original) and shortly after getting back on the Autobahn, Madam GPS instructed me to leave it again. It appears she was frustrated with the “traffic” (I’m from southern California, moving at 15 kmph does not constitute “traffic” in my book–that would be 5 kmph). So she’s guiding me on the scenic tour of Geingen and decides I absolutely *must* drive down a specific street… a street that is closed. Madam GPS and I argued for quite a while (45 minutes) before I instructed her to take me back to Schwangau (by this time she had me completely turned around and I had no idea where I was). Once she took me back to the Autobahn, I then told her to take me home and promptly ignored her as she instructed me to once again leave the Autobahn on a wild goose chase through Geingen. Thankfully, after much grumbling, she agreed to guide me home. Oh, and the “traffic” she was having a panic attack over was a minor bottleneck from the loss of one lane that cleared about 3-4 km later. She gave me a small panic attack over 3-4 km of “traffic” that was moving at 15 kmph. I had visions of being stranded in a country where I don’t speak the language until that little street was reopened for travel. And since I can’t read German, that’s anyone’s guess!


  19. Chuckles! My husband doesn’t take my navigation advice well so sometimes I dig in my heels and let him get lost 😉


  20. ElizOF says:

    This was a truly funny tale… At least Jane knows she can rely on you to pat her on the back when her directions are ignored. I haven’t jumped on the gps bandwagon yet, the voices I’ve heard are cloying and annoying… but one day… TY for the laughter! 🙂


  21. I feel bad for that computer. It was only programmed to help, not to take questioning of its abilities.


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