Living Retired — ‘Please Say A Command’
Living Retired — ‘Please Say A Command’
By Gary Chalk
Jan and I are, well lets just say, slow to adapt to changing technology. Here is what I mean…
We have his and hers iPhones, but we still keep our reliable old-fashioned landline phone: we have one extension in the kitchen, another in Jan’s office, and one sits on my office desk. When our granddaughters come to our museum they make a big deal about the kitchen counter clunker. When I explain it is a telephone they laugh. Then they pick it up and try to take a video to post on TikTok.
Another technology we are trying to master is the onboard navigation system we have in both our vehicles — specifically the electronic road map feature. The problem with an electronic road map is — IT’S ELECTRONIC! Give me a torn, crumpled road map from the auto club with coffee stains and jelly donut smudges that you can’t fold up.
Jan is always game to try to new things so earlier this summer when we drove to our friends lakeside cottage she said, “Gary, let’s use your Jeeps electronic navigation system.” I clenched my teeth, gripped the steering wheel, and muttered under my breath, “ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ NUTS!”
The trip to the cottage was a four hour drive for the three of us: Jan and myself, and ‘Navigation Lady’ who is the voice of our onboard navigation system. When we finally arrived, I was hoarse from arguing with Navigation Lady, and Jan was beside herself from arguing with me for arguing with Navigation Lady.
This past Thursday we took another road trip. This time to meet up with our son Tyler and his wife and their daughters at a resort up north. As I was backing out from the garage Jan asked me to stop.
“Ahh, I know you want to run back inside to check that you unplugged your curling iron.”
“No Gary, I was going to suggest we use the onboard navigation system.”
“Sure dear, while you do that I will set up a marriage counsellor phone number on speed dial.”
Jan touched the Jeep U-connect Info-tainment System screen on the dash and just like that — OMG! — Navigation Lady was back in our life!! “Say a device name like phone or USB. You can also say navigation or climate. Main menu. Please say a command.”
Before I could shout, “Hit the road Jack!” Jan assumed the proper passenger position for speaking into a car navigation system: she faced the dashboard, leaned in, and very clearly and deliberately enunciated “Nav-i-ga-tion.”
“Jan are you sure we need navigation” Don’t we want a map? This initiated a three-person conversation…
Navigation Lady said, “Please say a command.”
Jan slowly said, “N—A—V—I—G—A—T—I—O—N.”
What I said cannot be repeated here. Lets just say that my sphincter was tightening.
Our three-person conversation was just getting started…
Navigation Lady droned on, “Where would you like to search? Nearby? Or in a city? Please say a command.”
I screamed, “I COMMAND YOU TO SHUT-UP!”
This upset Jan, “GARY, SETTLE DOWN. THAT IS NO WAY TO SPEAK!”
Navigation Lady didn’t flinch, “Please say a command.”
We had a four hour drive ahead of us — and so far we were still parked in our driveway! Instead of travelling with Navigation Lady, I yearned for the days we took road trips with Tyler when he was younger. Imagine if we had an onboard navigation system? It would have been a four-person conversation…
From the back seat Tyler would let out a bloodcurdling scream, “DAD YOU NEED TO PULL OVER FAST! I’M GONNA PUKE!!!”
In the front passenger seat Jan would get upset, “TYLER, I DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU USE THAT WORD!”
At the steering wheel I would have said, “TYLER YOU KNOW YOUR MOTHER DOES NOT LIKE IT WHEN YOU SAY PUKE. INSTEAD, SAY YOU ARE GOING TO HURL! OR THAT YOU ARE GOING TO TOSS YOUR COOKIES!”
Navigation Lady would have droned on, “Please say a command.”
Living Retired is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk
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