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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hidden Dangers of the Tom Tom

Tom Tom's and every other brand of GPS thingies, may sound like a great idea to the rest of you, but I have a public safety announcement regarding the hidden dangers of putting these navigational tools into the wrong hands.

Hands like mine. Who don't know their left from their right.

Please, no lectures. No telling me that if I'll just hold up my thumb and first finger the one that makes the "L" is Left. And PLEASE don't tell me it's easy, and that I should just think of which hand I write with, or remember that the driver is on the left. If these things were that "easy" I would not have a problem.

And neither would my old Driver's Ed instructor, who was forever saying "Go left. No, you're other left."

I do want to say, however, that I am not to blame. I think it's genetic. I'm sure of it. My mother, you see, has the same exact problem - as does my sister Annie. (Except she fell off a horse when she was four and has a crooked right arm that doesn't touch her shoulder, so she just attempts the shoulder-touch and then she's kind of okay. Except that after almost three decades of doing this both arms now touch. Bummer).

Anyway, we have a problem.

So, as you know (if you've been faithfully following along with all my jingling) I am in Utah. I came down with a friend, and I'm currently staying at Annie's house. Last night I decided to go pick myself up something to eat for dinner, and took Annie's vehicle. Which is very large. (This info is important for visualizing things later on).

I initially was on the hunt for real food, like Mexican or Chinese, but somehow came around to the decision that Cutler's Cookies with popcorn and a diet coke really sounded way better. I didn't know where CC's was, but I did have a handy-dandy GPS thingie sitting right next to me. So I pull over, and put in Cutler's Cookies.

Bingo. It immediately tells me to pull out and head left. (SEE!! I just started typing right! This is pathetic). Thankfully, this one took zero brain power thanks to the bright green arrow. After waiting for a break in traffic, I turn left across two lanes and a turn lane, only to be immediately told to turn right.

Which way was right? There's two going-straight lanes, two turning (what I now know to be) left lanes, and one turn-only right lane. Feeling instantly panicked (because imagine if I never made it to Cutlers!), I head over to the right lane. Then, just as I start to enter the turn-only part, doubts assail me: "Is this right? Am I going the wrong way? Is the GPS woman going to yell at me? OMgosh, I think I'm going the wrong way!" Clearly I was too far gone to look for another green arrow).

I quickly checked for cars, veer across THREE LANES OF TRAFFIC - not even making it to the actual turn lane - and turn what I think is right (but is, in reality, LEFT), out of a go-straight-only lane. And there are cars coming. And I'm so busy stressing about whether or not I'm actually going right, I almost forget to yield. And come to a screeching halt in the middle of the intersection, looking like a completely deranged crazy woman in an over-sized SUV.

Which apparently, is exactly what I was.

Because I'm over thirty, don't know my left from my right, and was willing to risk my life (and my sister's vehicle) for a couple of cookies. (Fine, I bought a dozen. But I at the time of the incident I only planned on a couple, I swear!) Oh, and don't forget the wrath of the "re-calculating" navigational device that was thoroughly confused by my maneuver. When I headed back the right way and cut across traffic AGAIN after being in the wrong lane, the thing started telling me to head to the Interstate.

Do you think it was trying to save all the other drivers on the road? I mean seriously - by this time I was checking the rearview for lights. Surely it was only a matter of time before the erratic woman in the SUV was called in and picked up. I was literally starting to feel like a menace to society.

The good news - I've learned my lesson. People like me shouldn't be allowed to use navigational tools. It just. isn't. safe.

So my next question? WHY IS ANNIE USING ONE??!!! (Watch out Utah! She's on the loose!)

PS - when I got home and said "it's dangerous for people who don't know their left from their right to use those things", she said "I know." With emphasis. Like maybe this has already happened to her...

PPS - This is totally off topic, but..... Sue Q. gets a great big bloggy-hug for nominating me for MMB's spotlight blog award! Thanks Sue - you rock. (As will anyone else who nominates me :)

25 comments:

Annie Valentine said...

You are never driving my vehicle ever again.

Barbaloot said...

As a big-time directionally challenged person---those things are a life saver for me! But my mom is totally the same as you when it comes to left vs. right. She ALWAYS wears her watch on her left hand so she can just rely on that when she gets confused.

McFarland Family said...

We use the terms "driver's side" or "passenger side" when directions are involved. Been doing this since high school.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Don't know if this will help, but one of your limericks is a finalist in my contest today. :)

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Amen, sister. I totally don't know my left from my right and I know about the L thing also. Glad you found the cookies and glad you are getting some sister time. How fun. I get to have mine next week when I go to Utah. Although not to rub it in or anything, my drive will only be 5 hours not 18. Of course now it will be 10 hours because of murphy's law. :)

Whitney Keith said...

I was totally wondering if Anne would read this blog fearing for her vehicle's life! And then there she was FIRST comment. Next time don't panic. It will tell you if you are going the wrong way and then you will know to just turn around. It really is so simple :) lol

Machen family said...

The way I have learned my left from right...drumroll.....the right hand plays the melody on the piano (usually, don't give me what if's, like what if it's Rachmaninoffs 3rd concerto for thumbs or Mozarts 223rd Sonatina dedicated to the left hand, more than not, it's the right hand that plays the melody...just think of your right hand as your treble clef hand. Except when the left hand creeps into treble clef territory, then you are in trouble.) Just forget it...never mind, you guys are hopeless. By the way, how's your North, South, East, West directions?

That Girl in Brazil said...

I get lost in the town I grew up in all the time.

It IS genetic, I'm sure of it.

Because then it wouldn't be my fault.

Kellie said...

I have a Nuvi and I love it. I try not to freak out when I miss a turn, which means I do lots of "Recalculating" stuff. I got tired of getting lost in ghetto Cleveland and my hubby decided I'd better get some kind of GPS thing.

Jen said...

North, South, East, West directions is one of the few things I like about Utah.

And the ONLY thing I like about Utah driving.

Melissa Bastow said...

I'm pretty sure I'd never be allowed to touch a GPS thingy. There is probably some kind of law banning me from them. Probably because one time I wanted Krispy Kreme doughnuts and then drove around for 45 minutes because I couldn't remember what corner it was on. We had to settle for grocery store doughnuts instead.

Summer Warmoth said...

Just a note. Utah driving is retarded anyhow and taking a left turn in Utah is even worse!

Dominic said...

So that's who the crazy lady in the SUV was!

Kidding of course, Utah isn't that small...

If you really want to learn Left from Right, go join a weekly square dancing class/group. Stick with it for at least a year. By the end, you'll be cured!

Shelley said...

Sorry, but laughing hard here. I wish I would have been out shopping to be a witness to this!

Natalie said...

OKay, a few things... For starters, I am SO excited to find out that there are so many other directionally challenged people out there. Dustin calls me dyslexic because when he tells me to turn right I start to veer left... Also, I was surprised that YOU have a hard time with L vs. R because you play piano. I guess I just assumed that all of that piano playing would make you a pro. Finally, Annie drives a Toyota Sequoia doesn't she? Those aren't that big!

Natalie said...

Oh, and BTW Jen, the weather here is horrible. Worst spring break ever. Like my kids don't want to play outside because of the windstorms and hail. You're lucky to be in Utah. Definitely.

Momza said...

I have a love-hate relationship with my GPS. And I use it alot less than I thought I would.
And I will admit, I use the "L" my left hand makes when I forget.
As I tell my husband, I never said I was smart...and he replies, "Nope, you're pretty."

The Crash Test Dummy said...

ha ha.

Congrats on the nomination. And I saw your photos on Annies blog. You are so gorgeous!

Kristin said...

So we are supposed to believe you can find water in the middle of nowhere, but you can't find cookies? You might have been born 200 hundred years too late. Maybe you are just using the wrong equipment. You should probably stick with the stick.

Laura said...

I'm so glad you've decided it's genetic! If you, Mom and Anne all have it as well as me, it has to be!! I'm quite relieved. I haven't ever tried to use one of those thingys and I'm thinking I won't. I should have been with you--not that I would have helped, or anything, but, you know, morla support is worth something!

Laura said...

Ummm, that would be "moral support"....

Jan said...

I totally know what you're talking about, being a "I don't know my left from my right" person. One of my thumbs is slightly deformed, it's my left. It's the only way I can tell.
Something else confusing-not sure if it's a left or right thing: Electric window buttons-the kind that sit on the door handle. You either pull up or push down. And most of the time they're locked. I never know what's going to happen. The first time I had to figure it out I was in my mom's new Subaru at the drive thru at McD's. I could not figure out how to open the window. It was humiliating.

Stephanie said...

This is pretty funny. We use a Tom Tom also and I think it's great. I have a friend who is really anti-navigation device but she's always taking backroads and hitting deer. I have no sympathy. Glad your time with Annie was amazing and that you got your cookies. :)

H.K. said...

I SOOO relate to you on this one! I think they should invent a GPS system with actual real live pictures of the street and buildings and arrows, lots and lots of arrows.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Hey...I VOTED for you...just thought you should know who your REAL BLOG friends are!