May 19, 2011

Letting My Control Freak Flag Fly

Stopping to smell the flowers

Like many slightly-behind-the-curve technology lovers, M and I have a GPS device in the car.  It's a seriously flawed machine.  It doesn't know where the traffic is bad, it doesn't give you options to choose between, it arbitrarily picks a route and then sticks to it so strongly that you'd really think it took disagreements personally.

I love this thing.  Not because it gets me from A to B, but because it gives me some of the most satisfying moments in my week.  It absolutely has to let me win an argument.

Let's be clear on a few things- 1) M and I rarely argue.  And when we do, nine times out of ten I'm going to win.  It's a source of extreme frustration for him that I'm always right.  And generally speaking, I am.  and when I'm not, I'm quick to acknowledge it and the argument is over.  We're good at arguing, which means we don't do it much.  And there is never bad blood.  Unless we're arguing over the meaning of Christmas (long story, I'll probably get there this winter).

DD isn't so sure she agrees.
2) I LOVE to be right.  I'm a horrible I-told-you-so sayer.  I will lord my correctness over you until the end of time.  "Remember last time we had an argument over something vaguely related and I was right that time?  You want to go through that again?"  I don't let go of things easily, and as a result people don't tend to enjoy arguing with me.

3) I really like to argue.

So, what with my always being right and my mostly grown-up companions refusing to indulge me in my desire to engage them in petty debate, you can imagine that having two increasingly verbal toddlers can get a little... frustrating.

Especially now that DD has mastered not only the pronunciation but the actual meaning of the word, "No."

She says 'no' to just about everything, unless she immediately remembers that she does in fact want to have something to do with it.

"Do you want some juice?"
Becoming SuperMommy offers a cup, and DD takes it and gulps greedily.
"Do you like your juice?"
"Mm hmm!"
"Do you want more?"

SI and DD tip-toeing in the tulips
Then there's SI's ability to simply turn off her hearing.  I can say her name three million times, and she'll just keep slowly flipping pages in Green Eggs and Ham.  As though the sound of her mother's voice is nothing more than the whistle of the wind outside the windows.

As a bit of a control freak, and as somebody who prides myself in my ability to win an argument, this is extremely frustrating.

So, whenever I'm going somewhere in the car and I don't have the route so thoroughly memorized as to be able to drive it in the throes of a blinding migraine, I hook up the GPS.

And then I ignore it.

The GPS always wants me to take the freeway.  Silly GPS, the freeway?  Through downtown?  At mid-day?  I don't think so.

In it's vaguely British accent and lilting feminine tones, the GPS says to me, "Turn right at Woodlawn Avenue."

"No," say I.  "I don't think so."  And I veer to the east, towards Lake Shore Drive instead of the expressway.

"Recalculating..." replies the GPS.  Doesn't even put up a fight.

SI and a tulip
"Turn left at Dorchester Avenue."

"No," I answer.  "I'm going straight to Lake Shore.  It's the better way to go."

"Recalculating..." says the GPS.  I smile.  I'm winning.

"Turn left at Cornell Drive."

"I'm sorry," I lie, "but that's a really bad idea.  I'm going through the park and getting on Lake Shore to the south."  I know how to avoid the museum traffic, and the GPS doesn't.

"Recalculating..." says the GPS.  "Turn left onto Lake Shore Drive."

"Happy to!" I affirm, and make the sweeping left turn with no traffic, with no interference, and having won the first little battle with the machine.  I am the superior intellect.

My daughters love driving down Lake Shore Drive.  Their happy laughter as we zoom past the lake front bolsters my ego.  I am not only victorious over the machine, I am the mistress of a minivan full of happy children.  An anomaly among humans, to be sure.

We cruise happily for several miles, DD pointing out other cars as SI waves to the joggers on the lake shore path.  I roll down the windows and crank up the tunes.  The children giggle as the wind blows through their hair.  I am the coolest minivan driver ever to put rubber to pavement, I am MENSA material.  I am absolutely and utterly in charge.

"Turn left on McFetteridge Drive," says the GPS.

"I don't think so," I say.  "That light will last forever.  It's better to turn directly on Roosevelt.  You'll see."

"Recalculating..." says the GPS.  "Turn left on Roosevelt."
DD's happy dance looks a lot like mine

"I knew you'd come to my line of thinking," I remark, coming to the turn lane as the sole car, not waiting through the same two or three cycles as the poor saps on McFetteridge. 

"Turn left on Halsted."

"No," I say.  "It's quicker to get in through the back, and skip around the freeway entrance off of Union."

"Recalculating..." says the GPS.  And as I finish the turn, before the GPS can come up with a correction to my route, that little flag pops up.

"Arriving at destination," says the GPS.

I smirk as I reply, "I told you so."


  1. Oh, gosh... cute... your GPS recalculates! :-)Mine would rather drag me through the dirt, LOL. It reminds me of some movie I saw ages ago where the gps was likened to an overly demanding wife. Which of course annoyed me b/c ... well, ... so what if we're demanding, we just get to say and rule in the discussion and that is that.

    great post!

  2. I remember when mine learned no and that's all they said!
    Following back from the Time 4 Mommy hop.

    My GFC button is on my community -

  3. Gotta love a GPS. Mine had me going in circles one day. Make a U turn. Destination is on right. By the 8th U turn I figured out the building had been torn down!

    I'm a new GFC follower from Tuesday Blog Hop.


  4. I thought I was the only one who argued with my GPS. Glad to know I am in good company.

    Stopping by from Time 4 Mommy Community. Would love for you to stop by and share comments about being a twin mommy. Mine are G/B 3.5 yr old twins.



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