Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My GPS is mad at me….

September 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Just me

….I should say that she is mad at me again, since this is not the first time in our relationship. To make matters worse my family has programmed her with an accent similar to my own.. so her BBC English becomes increasingly clipped and sarcastic (a la Hugh Laurie’s House and Simon Cowell) at every infraction.

Her name is “Betty”- paying homage to Bitchin’ Betty, the pet name given by pilots to the voice of the F16’s HUD, for obvious reasons! It would seem that Betty isn’t impressed by my independent streak; (one of my many characters faults) since she doesn’t understand why I would rather drive the long way around than ‘waste’ more than 30 seconds sitting in traffic. Her response to my truculence is a constant stream of demands “turn right now”, “make a legal ‘U’ turn” (as opposed to an illegal one) even, when I have pressed the detour button. In itself that would sufficient pause for thought, but Betty takes it one step further quickly lapsing into silence if I ignore more than a couple of her instructions. No really I’m serious and, the subsequent pouting session can escalate; sometimes she chooses to show the route (root) on the screen without uttering a word and this can go on for days at a time. Not that I choose to deliberately tease her, but the system includes traffic updates which are a must in a town where we no longer compute the number of miles between points but rather the time it takes to negotiate the distance.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Betty. I love my Betty!(in a none creepy way). Our teamwork has more than once allowed me to whiz past (at legal speeds, of course) lines of traffic that would usually leave me frothing at the mouth. But I sometimes wish she could be informative without being pushy and as for the sulking … well. Maybe it’s my fault, there just seem to be a few too many people offering a critique in my life, too many ‘voices’ willing to weigh in on anything and everything I do. In this instance, yet another back seat (or rather front seat) driver. While I love having a navigator I don’t think I ever signed up for a co-pilot ~ Wow it’s almost like being married!



17 Responses to “My GPS is mad at me….”
  1. Laine,

    That’s too funny! I saw a stand up comedian talking about his GPS the other day. His too was set up on the English Lady with the British accent. He summed up taking directions from her with “you are adorable, but I’m going straight.”


  2. Laine says:

    Thanks Chris,

    Of course in my case he could say it to me or to my GPS! I’m just realizing that although our paths cross frequently that unless I’ve chosen to rebel against spell check its probably not that obvious I’m British. My kids friends think I’m wonderful and ask me to mimic every English and Scots movie character that they can think of .. Shrek, Hagrid, Prof McGonegall, Nanny McPhee and that awful Austin Powers (looking at the list I should be insulted)!

    I did try the British male voice but was forced to change because friends wanted to know who the chap in my car was, – ” are you on a date”! So we ‘evolved’ to Betty – now my pals think my sister or Mum have come to visit. Meanwhile I instruct Ms Betty not to get her ‘Knickers in a Knot’ or ‘underwear in an uproar’. Beyond that my use of stronger epithets come under parental controls, my girls are in control of their parent and complain if I use the H E double hockey sticks word brow beaten by two teens and a GPS.

    “Dream the life and live the Dream”

  3. Paul Novak says:

    So, now we are apparently at the point where we can have passive aggressive relationships with our applicanses. I imagine that as technology continues to advance, it will only be a matter of time before we start seeing people who hold doctorates in machine psychology and cater to sorting through the emotional problems of our computers. Instead of Windows crashing because it has too much of its memory loaded with applications, it will be crashing because its memories are too painful to relive;)

  4. Laine says:

    Hi Paul,

    Amazing heh! Mind.. we have long been throwing slippers at the TV when it doesn’t work… the fact that it can now talk back just bring out a whole other level. Reminds me of the depressed robot in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“ho hum I’ve got a brain half the size of a planet and they have me opening doors”

    I was talking to my hairdresser who says his GPS model includes the capability for you to use your own voice – he chose to use ‘well aren’t you being creative’ and ‘feeling independent are we’ in place of some of the nagging comments! Definitely a glass is half full answer.

    Next article is : My Laptop has Lo-Jack!

    Laine D
    “Dream the life and live the dream!”

  5. Paul’s post was scary / funny. In Japan they would come up with something like that pretty quickly, Paul.

  6. Laine says:

    Too true :) Another reason to end up on the therapists coach! Makes me think of those scary stories of spaceage interactive houses….
    Luckily Betty is relatively benign, I think I just need to update the software and hopefully she will make use of more direct routes.

    Its just like having an older female relative visiting: don’t you think you’re going to fast, watch that car, he’s braking, are we supposed to be on this side of the road? I remember Bill’s Mum wouldn’t let her husband go anywhere if they couldn’t be back home before it got dark. :(


  7. Paul Novak’s comment is pretty funny, but how far will it go? Have you seen I, Robot? Run for the hills the machines are taking over!

  8. Laine, I can relate. I swear those damn things have been outfitted with AI technology. Who would of thought computers would be so damn passive aggressive? I can imagine what it will be like when everyone has a computer system that runs their entire house. Betty might just lock you out in the dark — like a modern day equivalent to the end credits of the Flintstones. We’ll be screaming “Wilma!” pretty soon.

  9. Laine says:

    True Elliot, Paul has AI paranoia and rightly so :)

    Thanks for popping in.

  10. Laine says:

    Hey Dennis – LOL yes really! Maybe its because we try to make them more and more like ourselves. The extension of our own ID, guess it becomes an ego thing and we know what happens when egos ignite.

    I wrote this once but it seems to have disappeared, I was thinking there is a character for you to develop: a Mary Poppins with thick ankles although on second thoughts since I’ve been told my accent is sexy – maybe a repressed librarian, horn-rimmed glasses, up-do and stiletto heels, very film noir and Raymond Chandler.

    Meanwhile love your work on the secret album cover – makes me think of the view through a peep hole – all fish eye lens and Gothic architecture (The Tanoshiboy Chronicles: The Art of Dennis Salvatier

    *look now spell check is bitching at me! no AI paranoia for me I’ll leave that to Paul – I’m just going to write on paper with a real pencil!


  11. Well I talk back to my GPS (also female and british). ‘Turn around when possible’ she says in an irritated voice. ‘No, I will NOT!” I shout back and on it goes…..

  12. Doc Sheldon says:

    Hilarious, Laine!

    I’m old school… I use those fold-up contraptions, that’ll never fold back up the way they were, but don’t chide or nag. Of course, I doubt anyone’s ever had a GPS blow out the window on the freeway, either.

    If I did have one, and it nagged me like that, I suspect it’d be caught by the wind, too.

  13. Laine says:

    Hey Doc,

    I’ve got a bunch of the folding ones too.. and they argue back in there own way, not folding, managing to escape the car completely (the girls sometimes unpack what they feel is non essential) but Phoenix is growing like crazy (with an emphasis on the crazy) and not all of the roads are on paper maps. Actually not all of the roads show up on the GPS either and you have the odd experience of watching your car ‘float’ on an empty screen.

    The GPS was a gift (ha!) to help us deal with traffic issues worse than the M-25 (ring road around London – once referred to as the Highway to Hell) also my itinerary is what could be called fluid for my chauffeur work (driving my daughters) the places they want to go tend to be on the outskirts and if I ask them to handle the map while I drive we could end up anywhere. My oldest (almost 16) has an orientation issue – not with her sexuality but with direction, if I send her to the mailbox I have to send the dog with her because the dog will come back when its hungry.

    Can’t wait to read your blog again of a mad man makes me smile!

  14. Laine says:

    Mine must just be wearing me down then – or maybe its that the girls join in on the argument!

    Cheers – Looking forward to your latest update on and

  15. Mine says to me, “recalculating”…which I translate to me “you fool, you went the wrong way again!”. Couldn’t live without mine when I was traveling around the country doing chattel appraisals on rental houses. Although I was sure mine was programmed to ‘play with me’ while finding it’s satellite home until i got so frustrated that I resorted to pulling out my PC and going to mapquest…so old school, I know. Forever I’ll think of you now when my GPS talks to me in a British accent. Thanks for the chuckle. BTW, the American equivalent of “knickers in knot” is ‘panties in a bunch’…we’re so crass, us American’s.

  16. admin says:

    Hey Ninja,
    That bloody woman drives me nuts…. yes, I agree “recalculating” is short for “you silly old trout now I suppose I have to get you out of another mess” ~ I do think I manage to rattle her a bit when I sense a slight change of tone with multiple “recalculatings”. But that might be my imagination.

    I love it when she gets really shirty and adds “make a legal U turn …” – duh.. as opposed to an illegal one!

    I don’t think ‘panties in a bunch’ would sound quite right coming out of my mouth, my kids laugh already when I try to do an American accent ~ could go for ‘bloomers in a bunch’ or ‘panties in a palaver’. I do remember one old dear who would say ‘unmentionables in an uproar’ ~ (very Agatha Christie don’t you think ;)).



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  1. […] Last but not least, Laine is a British Mum living in the US with a great sense of humor and battling her GPS. […]

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