Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Old Man GPS

It has been acting somewhat strangely for a while, but I hadn’t really put two and two together until today.

My GPS is an old man.

I guess it all started a few months ago when my GPS started complaining that it needed a map update. I find it strange that there is a device in the world that doesn’t draw its information in real time from the Internet, but as we all know, seniors and the technology never go together well. Oh sure, they try, but the results are horrifying. Spend ten minutes searching for “mature” on Google image search with SafeSearch off and you’ll see what I mean.

I guess the thing needs me to plug it up to the internet with an actual wire of some kind. I mean, can you imagine? A wire. Do I even own a wire?

“Turn left, I think!” it wheezed from my dash, then coughed a few times. I turned left and stopped at the gates to an apartment building.

“Onward!” yelled my GPS, replacing his monocle, which had become dislodged in the coughing fit.

Though it looked like a very nice apartment complex, with gleaming new buildings and freshly laid streets of dark rich blacktop, I’m pretty sure that P.F. Chang’s isn’t located in Unit B of Whispering Oaks Pointe, and even if it was, I had no desire to smash through the security gates. My poor car is battle-scarred enough already.

I hated to do it, but I pulled out my cell phone right in front of the GPS and used its maps feature.

“Blargh,” said my Blackberry, “What? Oh god. Hurr.. OH yeah the maps thingy.. hang on”. It lit up two arrows on its screen corner to indicate that it was trying to download something, then went blank, seemingly closing its eyes with the strain of retrieving the maps data.

Christ on a stick, my cell phone is just as befuddled as the GPS.

“What the hell is that newfangled contraption? I’m the damned navigation unit around here you young punks!” the GPS screamed, creaking in its little plastic bracket.

To be fair, my GPS did get me within a mile of the place, but it had the wrong side of the street. I was in danger of being late, and I hate being late almost as much as I hate being the first to arrive. Getting places at the right time is a science… one which I will not go into right now, but suffice it to say that I have a complex series of formulas for determining when I will leave my house for a given type of engagement.

Map images finally displayed, the Blackberry knew exactly where the restaurant was — it even had a sweet aerial photo — but it had no idea where I was.

I was left with no choice but to hold the two devices together, each wheezing and spluttering, and make sense of things myself. I imagine Lewis and Clark never had these issues, what with Sacagawea leading them around. Of course, they didn’t have anywhere particular to be at any certain time, they were just traipsing around for the hell of it.

I, on the other hand, did have somewhere to be. Bearings gained, I headed off toward the restaurant, my GPS wheezing instructions to turn next to the “old homestead” and then the “place where the McKenzie Farm burned down”.

Finally at the restaurant thanks to ignoring every word of my GPS’s instructions, I pulled past the valet parking hut. As an able-bodied human, I’d rather walk 100ft than tip a valet. Who valet parks their dirty Mazda hatchback in the daytime when they’re by themselves anyway? I don’t know who, but certainly not me.

I soon discovered that the valets had blocked off 80% of the parking lot, and that the remaining spaces were full. I didn’t see that one coming, valets. Nice move.

I ended up parking next to a curb. See the below aerial photo, courtesy of Google Maps:

the PF stands for Parking's Full

I got out of my car, locked it up lest any nefarious hands reach in to purloin my financial booklet, and went inside the restaurant.

I was the first to arrive.