Monday, February 23, 2009


Aaron got a GPS thing for the car for Christmas (thanks Will!).

The tale of our car troubles just can't be told without writing about the element of the GPS on that dreadful day.

You can't fully appreciate this story without understanding that there was a robotic voice in our car, telling Aaron what to do, during our trip.

I love hearing Aaron make fun of himself about his driving.

He's a genius.

He's brilliant.

He's freaky gifted musically.

He's the smartest person I know.

But like most gifted people, he has quirks...and one of them deals with his driving.

I used to joke that in order for us to go anywhere, we first had to drive to the church.

When Aaron gets in the car, he MUST, and I mean MUST have the exact, perfect music playing as he rolls out of our driveway.

Music is a big deal in Aaron's life, and even if he's driving from our house to the nearest gas station, there must be music...good, loud, perfect music for such a trip. If you don't think there's "going to the gas station music" you're wrong. You could probably ask Aaron right now and he could tell you 10 songs you should have playing if you're driving to fill up your car. "Gas station" may even be a category on his ipod.

Once that music begins playing, Aaron's brain sort of goes on auto-pilot.

He gets lost in the music I think, and that's why, if I'm with him, and I'm not paying attention I will look up and realize we're on our way to the church (the place Aaron has gone almost every day for the past decade) when we really need to be heading towards Dallas.

It's just so normal now, I hardly acknowledge it.

Aaron laughs at himself, and admits, if he's not thinking hard about where he's going once he leaves our driveway, he'll find himself on the way to the church, when he's supposed to be on his way to HEB on the other side of town.

See why this GPS could be a good thing?

You would think.

On the way to San Antonio, I heard this poor GPS robot lady, respectfully reminding my husband when to turn, when to stop and when to get over.

I also watched my husband totally ignore her. One time, she told him to turn left and Aaron said, "No" and kept on driving.

I said, "She told you to turn left."

"I'm not turning left. That's not the fastest way. She's wrong."

Lots of things went through my mind as we drove to San Antonio. That's one of the reasons I hate road trips...I have too much time to think, and usually try to convince Aaron we need to move to California, or Austin, or start a Wildlife Ranch if we're in the car more than thirty minutes. Not on the road, I don't even like animals or nature, so I've decided that the car, for me, must be like the matrix or something...when I get in it, reality skews.

One of the things I was thinking was how nice this GPS lady was to Aaron.

No matter how many times he totally ignored her, or went the exact opposite way she suggested, she would just gently say, in the nicest, slightly creepy robotic voice..."as soon as you can...make a legal u-turn."

It got me to thinking...what if I was as nice to Aaron as his GPS lady? No matter what he did, or how he treated her, the GPS girl remained under control. When Aaron missed the turns, I on the other hand, would sit there and wish I could instantly turn into a lion in the front Beast Boy on Teen Titans. How great would it feel, when you're frustrated, to just be able to let out a really loud roar...a blood stopping, window shaking roar? I think that would feel so good. I sat there imagining roaring, really loud, out of nowhere...Aaron's face would look super funny and surprised...and then I imagined turning back into the wife again, smiling at my husband, and going back to thinking through what the employees at our Wildlife Ranch should wear.

Aaron named his GPS lady, Maggie. It's a Magellan brand GPS thing, but it has a girl's voice on it, so Maggie is her name.

When Aaron would miss his turn, I'd want to bang my head on the dashboard and say, "Just let me drive."

Not really.

I hate driving.

I would really start thinking how cool it would be if we could own a magic carpet...but sometimes, I just don't want you to know exactly what I think. "Let me drive" sounds so much more normal than "I wish we had a magic carpet."

But Maggie...she never lost her cool, or wished for an enchanted rug.

She's so nice.

She would just pause and then say, "Recalculating route."

I was feeling a little bad.

Why is Maggie so nice, and I want to turn into a lion and roar at my husband?

How sad and embarrassing would it be for our community to find out one day that Aaron left his wife and ran off with his nice GPS lady?

Pretty sad.

Pretty sad.

I'm imagining right now the talk show stage filled with men saying, "I love my GPS lady. She's nice. She never yells. And my wife...she's mean...she scares me." Then some cute guy on the stage, would yell out, "And my wife turns into a lion. A LION!!"

Instead of getting frustrated when Aaron forgets something, why not just pause and say, "Recalculating my day..."

Maggie was always on in the car while we were driving.

After she taught me a great lesson about being more respectful, patient and loving to my husband, she soon became the butt of lots of jokes in the front seat while we were in San Antonio.

Our favorite saying Maggie has...

"Keep to the left followed by a keep to the right."

We wrote raps using Maggie-isms.

They should be recorded.

They are that good.

A couple days into our San Antonio adventure, Aaron decided Maggie is too nice.

"She's never funny and doesn't makes fun of you, even though she really should."

Aaron thinks Maggie is too polite and a push over.

In that moment, I knew Maggie would never get my man. When Aaron wasn't looking, I cocked my head and gave Maggie the "ya lose, girl" look.

We think you should be able to buy a GPS version that's not so nice...just for fun. Aaron would go buy TOMORROW a GPS thing that featured a no-nonsense black girl with a huge dose of attitude. He would love her.

Like a "Naggy Maggie" version.

When Aaron totally disobeyed her, he thinks she should have yelled at him, "I said turn ya moron. Now we have to drive to Austin to turn around...great. Just great."

He thinks once you've ignored Maggie several times in a row, she should say, "I'm turning myself off. Don't even think about turning me back on until you decide you're actually going to do what I say."

We imagined sitting in a mall parking lot, explaining to the kids, "Maggie won't come back on, so we don't know where to go. We're going to have to sit here for a little while. Just watch Kung Fu Panda again. Yes, you can have another juice box. Sorry boys, but Maggie is mad at daddy."

Much laughter happened in the front seat by this wife, listening to Aaron talk to Maggie like she's a real person.

When we were leaving the car dealership on Wednesday, with no new car...without the car we a rental car that we were going to have to pay for with our next born child, Maggie tried to make us run our car into a wall.

She did.

We were at a stop light and she told us to turn left.

We looked to our left and saw...

A brick wall.

She wanted us to run our car into a brick wall.

Aaron said, "Maggie...girl! We can't turn left. There's a wall on the left."

I gently touched Aaron's hand and said, "Honey...she knows. She knows what kind of day this has been. Maggie is trying to put us out of our misery."


Anonymous said...

We think there should be a Mr. T version of GPS. You know, the one that would say "TURN AROUND, FOOL!". I have no doubt he'd be deployed often on our road trips.

Cathy T

Hendrick Family said...

I'm laughing Cathy! Yes...we need a Mr. T in our car!


Anonymous said...

Heather your post made me want to start singing Barbra Streisand's song Memories...well I can't sing so maybe not.

However, I might have an equal story about Maggie's. I was driving in a rental car into Houston traffic with another friend/researcher to collect some data. Our Maggie we name Frenchie because neither of us could figure out how to get her back to speak English. So we drove around town with a very nice woman telling us in French what to do.

On the positive I did learn what right and left are in French. I have no idea how to spell them but left sounded like this. Frenchie would say....turnae a goosh...trunae a goosh! Somehow we made it to the elementary school we needed to get to.

I then figured out how to make Frenchie speak English. However, we had laughed so hard at this point that we decided to try a new language instead!


shauna maness said...

ha! brandon and i call our's frau!

all of our driving frustration is now directed at her instead of each other... BRILLIANT.

i'm pretty sure gps girls and boys are from heaven.


Rachel H said...

My roommate DOES have a Mr. T version! I even think it says just that. We took it on a road trip last semester, it's way funny!

IE Mommy Blogger said...

Thank you for making me feel normal. I have had thought like this regarding our GPS soooo many times. My husband cracks up at the fact that she CAN'T say something back! Thanks for the chuckle!

lisasmith said...

My GPS is Missy...shoulda seen where we ended up in San Antonio looking for an Italian restaurant...I should post it sometime...Hilarious!

Kathy's Korner said...

I need to introduce your "Maggie" to our "Marsha"!

Marsha recently drove us to a lovely residential area...rather then the church we were looking for. And there is simply no arguing with the woman. She is simply "right" Brick wall "right" much like your Maggie