Friday, August 28, 2015

Can I get an "AMEN!"

I have written before about being directionally challenged. I mean, I can eventually get to where I want to go. Eventually. But I think a GPS is flippin' great invention, and if I can get from point A to point B without having to ask for help? Well, then, I feel like a graduate of the  Charlie Sheen School of  #winning!

Image result for navigation (For those of you that read this that don't know me personally; yes, that was sarcasm.)

My husband and I are the perfect navigationally challenged pair. Drop that man into the desert, jungle, unpopulated anywhere and he can find his way out with or without a map. Will it be faster with a map and perhaps a compass? Um, yes. But drop ME in a desert, jungle, unpopulated anything and I will die. Either from not being able to find my way out (even with a map or a compass), from exposure or dehydration (starvation isn't really a factor if we are being totally honest), or from fright after either seeing a snake or any sort of predatory animal. Yes, I'm THAT much of a wuss. Don't judge.

Put my husband and I in a major city or highway and the roles reverse. I know it doesn't make sense. It does, however, make for some hilarious memories. The first weekend we spent together we planned to go to the Outer Banks. I asked him which way to go (before the GPS era in all fairness) and where did we end up? Hilton Head Island. Hey, it was still by the ocean and we had an amazing weekend. And, in his defense, he had just come back from 2 weeks in the field. He pretty much jumped in my car, pointed me to the highway, and then slept for the next 3 hours. 

So for our recent trip from North Carolina to North Dakota, we were sorta kinda better at planning. We had looked at the atlas for various routes, listened to the opinions of others that had traveled that general direction, asked Google's opinion, and then settled on a route. The fact that we didn't sit down until the night before we left and plot it out step by step is irrelevant. We had the general idea - go north or west while avoiding Chicago - and viola! Eventually we'd at least be near North Dakota.  Plus, we had a GPS in my car and we both have GPS on our phones. What could happen?!?!

Image result for wrong direction
Well, I'll tell you. Wrong directions happened, and plenty of them. We already knew from previous Honda GPS experiences that your best bet of getting a direct route to where you want to go is to have an address. This works so much better if you actually have an address. We weren't sure how far we would be able to drive each day, so we did not make hotel reservations in advance. Plus, in case of massive road construction or traffic jams, we wanted to be able to re-route without worrying about getting too off track. 

Day 1. We miss a segue from one major highway to another, which provided us the amazing opportunity to see some of Charleston, West Virginia in all it's edge-of-the-city glory. It was kind of like we were playing Pacman, but our cars were Pacman and the city was the level 7 board.  We also end up driving through a lot of rural Ohio. Very pretty. Probably not the most direct way, however. We decided where to stop for the night while having dinner, so we made hotel reservations (which gave us an address...score!) while eating and then headed for some much needed rest. We got another tour through a city via GPS routing so at least we knew where the gas stations were. 

Image result for navigationDay 2. Upon leaving the hotel, we realized that, had we gone several exits further on the interstate, we could have gotten to the hotel in 7 minutes versus the 23 minute through town detour from the night before. However, we knew exactly where to go to fill up with gas before we left, so it all worked out. We decided on the hotel for night number 2 before leaving the hotel from night number 1, so again we had an address.  Once again, the Honda GPS routed us through a 35 minute detour through one town, which was nice (we thought it was because of construction). However, had we stayed on the highway (where it turns out there was no construction), we could have saved 30 minutes. I'm not gonna lie, I was starting to think unkind thoughts about Honda and their navigation systems at this point. We get to the hotel with no problems at a reasonable hour and consider the day an overall success. 

Day 3. Once again, we realize that had we gone 2 miles further down the highway, our hotel would have been 2 minutes off the exit versus the 10 minute early exit route. I'm starting to become convinced that my in-car navigation system suffers from EES - early exit syndrome. Luckily, day 3 will be our last navigation day. I don't have the street address of the lodging facility on base, so I turn off my GPS once I see a sign for the base, and we find it without a single wrong turn. However, once again, had we gone to the second base entrance instead of the first, we would have been at lodging in 2 minutes versus the 7 it took us to navigate through the base. Oh well. The important thing is that we made it, right?!

Once settled in on base and starting to learn our way around, we decide to go see a movie in town. We know the movie theater is near the mall. We don't see it. So we program the address in the Honda navigation system. It takes us all the way around the mall, but we still don't see our destination, even though Honda says we have reached it. I pull out my phone and use my Google app, which apparently had gone completely insane from having to correct all the errors the Honda system has made in the last four days. The Google app directs us on a wide path around the mall perimeter and then gives up trying to navigate us at all, telling us "Turn right, then turn left. Turn right, then turn right. Turn left, then turn left." 

Robert is driving and is getting extremely frustrated. Since he's not too proud to ask for directions, he does just that. The very nice lady that helps us directs us back to the area of the mall parking lot where the Google navigation tells us to "turn right, then turn right. Turn right, then turn right. Turn right, then turn right." Because I've had four straight days of this nonsense, I am hysterical. I am laughing so hard that I genuinely cannot see (thank goodness Robert was driving). My stomach muscles are on fire from all the laughing. The kids are laughing, not because anything is actually funny to them, but because I am laughing so hard. 

People! I cannot stop laughing. Seriously, it's like a mini breakdown. 

You know  how some people will describe themselves crying when they are super upset as "ugly crying"? Well, I was ugly laughing. I'm snorting, eyes and nose running, gasping desperately for air....all while trying to explain to Robert why I think this is so funny. Because in my mind, I'm seeing some tiny little Google robot throwing up his hands and announcing that there is NO! USE! in trying to direct Robert and I anywhere. We cannot even navigate ourselves through a parking lot, for crying out loud. 

Robert's had enough of the nonsense and my hysteria. He parks, stomps across the parking lot and goes into the mall to see if the theater is inside the mall. 

It is. 

Image result for navigationHe's so over it all that he just texts me from the mall saying he found the theater. I'm still laughing so hard that it's 10 minutes before I can get out of the car, and even then, I am randomly breaking out into giggle fits. 

Even now, I'm still laughing just thinking about it. I laughed through telling Megan this story, and through telling it to my Mom. I've decided, it's one of those whole 'you just had to be there' stories. And you should have been. It was epic. 

Three days later and we are going back into town for an oil change for my car. I'm sort of sure I know where the Honda dealership is, but just in case I don't what do you think I do? 

Yep. I ask the Honda navigation system. This should have been a sure thing. All Honda navigation systems have a nationwide database of Honda/Acura dealerships programmed in. I chose the Honda dealership in Minot, ND and where do we end up? 

At the GMC/Buick/Cadillac dealership. 

Go home, Honda navigation. You're drunk.