I used to have charts. Well not really charts, but I had maps. Lots of them. Actually way too many of them. I used to keep them all folded up in the glove compartment of my car, and if you wanted to find your way to somewhere in Vancouver you'd have to sort through maps of Utah, Newfoundland, and a tourist map of Knotts Berry Farm. It was the perfect system for me, not because I was the only one who could read the maps, but because I was the only one willing to sort through the mess to find the right one. It didn't matter where you wanted to go...I was ready, and I had a map to get you there.
the Rio gave us a few years ago, and she's now in charge of directions in our car. Mandy has all the maps, and she never loses any or folds them backwards and puts them away in the wrong place. When Mandy plots a route she never follows the blue line of a river, figuring that they're probably just color coding the roads. She's never accidentally torn the corner off one of her maps, or written a phone number on one of them making it impossible to tell if Saskatoon is in section A-1 or B-14. Mandy can figure out the shortest route, the fastest route, or even the route that will pass you by the most Krispy Kreme stores if you want (and believe me...I want!).
The kicker is, she'll do all this without arguing with you once. If you take a wrong turn, Mandy simply recalculates your route, and starts calling out new directions. Try that with your wife giving you directions from the passenger seat. If Lori was struggling with one of these football field sized maps, trying to help me get to a library or (more likely) a Dairy Queen somewhere, and I decided to ignore her instructions and take a random side road, I promise you that the first words out of her mouth would not be "recalculating".
|The beach is around here somewhere....|
To make it clear, we didn't name Mandy. When you do the setup on a GPS there's a list of preprogrammed voices that you can select from, and the default voice on ours was called Mandy. It never occurred to us to change the selection, but there has been one drawback. Amidst the collection of 80's hair metal that populates my playlist for long drives, are some token classic tracks from the artists of yesteryear. One of these is Barry Manilow's "Mandy". The first couple of times my kids heard the song, they thought it was cute that Barry had written a song about our GPS, but of course they couldn't let it go at that. A little while ago I noticed that the sing-along participation ratio was increasing drastically every time "Mandy" came on. Then I started to listen a little more carefully:
Oh Mandy well
You came and you gave us directions,
But Dad still went the wrong way,
Oh, Mandy, you
Figured out the route we should be taking,
It still takes Dad all day,
Barry Manilow is now banned from our car.