Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where’s My Hand-Basket? Recalculating.

Last Friday, I journeyed with my children and in-laws to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.  Since this was a three-hour trip each way, and I’m not terribly familiar with the Chicago area, I needed some directional assistance.  

Instead of printing out directions from Google Maps, or bringing along my extra-large atlas, I decided to rely solely on my Garmin.  I don’t know why I keep doing this; it never works out well for me.

Nevertheless, we all piled into my minivan, and we were on our way.

About 45 minutes into the trip, we finally reached the point where no one knew where we were anymore.  Oh, we had a general idea.  On a road. In Wisconsin.  Under the sun. 

Not too long after, the Garmin (in her delightful British accent) directed us to exit the interstate, and head onto a state highway.  Like dutiful sheep, we followed her directions off I-90, onto Highway 14, and back .... onto I-90. It was a portent of things to come.


Undaunted, we sojourned on, eventually crossing the Wisconsin-Illinois border. After another 90 miles, or so, the Garmin told us to exit the Interstate just outside downtown Chicago.  This seemed reasonable.

Turns out “reasonable” is subjective.  The next hour went something like this:

Garmin: “Go 3.6 miles, then keep right.”

Me: “There is no ‘keep right’ - it’s just a 6 lane highway.”

Father-in-law: “Should I turn right?”

Me: “No, keep going forward.”

Garmin: “Recalculating.  Turn right on Ohio St.”

Me: “We’re already on Ohio St.”

Father-in-law: “Should I take the next right?”

Me: “Probably.”

Garmin: “Recalculating.  Go .8 miles.”

Me: “Ok...”

We travel .3 miles.

Garmin: “Recalculating.”

Me: ???

Father-in-law: “Which way should we go?”

Me: “I don’t know!  Keep going straight!”

Garmin: “Recalculating.  Keep left on Lakeshore Drive.”

Me:  “Uh-oh.  I think ‘keep left’ meant go down that ramp.”

Father-in-law: “What ramp?”

Mother-in-law: “Should I pull out our Garmin to see what it says?”

Garmin: “Recalculating.”

Me: “Ok.”

Garmin #2: “Aquiering satellites.”

Garmin #1:  “Turn left onto Wacker Dr.”

Me: “WTF?  That takes us away from the lake!”

Mother-in-law:  “What should we do?”

Me: “The aquarium is on the lake!”

Garmin #2: "Go 2.7 miles, then turn right on Columbus Dr."

Garmin #1: “Turn left onto Wacker Dr.”

Garmin #2: “Turn right on Columbus Dr.”

Me: “Is this Hell?  I think we’re in Hell.”

Garmin #1: “Recalculating.”

Garmin #2: “Recalculating.”

At that point, all 3 of our heads exploded.

Preschooler: “Are we there yet?”

In the end, we ended up following my in-law’s Garmin.  After all, the gentleman in their Garmin had an American accent.  The lady in my Garmin was from the UK.  She probably wasn’t that familiar with the Chicago area.

And despite the fact that (unbeknownst to us), Chicago public schools were on spring break, and every parent (lest they go insane) brought their child to the aquarium that day, the outing was a success.

We saw fish.  We ate lunch.  We even managed to make it back home. 

Upon arriving at home, we relayed this harrowing adventure to Husband.

Him: “Huh.  I guess we need to update our maps.”

Me: “I thought we did that.”

Him: “No.”

Me: “So when we don’t update our maps, Garmin calculates its directions based on Dante’s seven layers of Hell?”

Him: “Apparently so.”



Marianna Annadanna said...

Laughing! Out LOUD!

Oh, sorry for your misfortune, though.

Also? Would updating your maps impact the interstate route to Chicago? I mean, has Chicago moved much since your Garmin was made?

I have a Garmin too. Except she's a woman and her name is Monica.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

I think our Garmin-lady mislead us on purpose, but to her credit we never gave her a name. So we probably brought this misfortune unto ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Gotta love the "Recalculating!" Why is it that they sound so annoyed when they say that word? Are they thinking in their little computer brains, "What an idiot! Why can't they just follow my directions instead of doing their own thing and making me recalculate every 10 seconds!?" "Recalculating"