Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Damn, that lady could drive.

The people you are closest to always have an impact on your life. Today was my Mothers birthday, and she passed away nearly five years ago. She gave me a lot in this life in terms of knowledge and confidence, and was a truly generous person that made a difference in the lives of everyone around her. She is sincerely missed by everyone that knew her.
But I have never really talked about one of most unique attributes that no one really knew about - Damn, that lady could drive.
To this day, I have never seen another woman who could drive like her. She taught me how to drive a manual, do a donut, drive a car with no brakes, and how to properly execute a J-turn. She taught me how to properly drive in the snow, and how to outrun the fuzz, yet she never showed me how to talk your way out of a ticket. She also let me know about all the “Yahoos” on the road and how to avoid them.
I remember she was so excited to have her first brand new car, an 87 Monte Carlo. The thing was classy, an off white with brown trim. I think after that was the obvious mini van phase that swept the nation with a Grand Caravan. Of course, she had to have the one with the big motor. After this was the truck phase, graduating into a 2003 GMC Sierra. That got totaled within a week of moving to Florida, which is when she got her favorite, a full size Durango with the monster V8, which still lives on, and I make a point to drive every time I’m in Florida visiting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The misguided life and times of Karen

Let’s get this out of the way up front - Karen was a spiteful bitch. Her demise is bittersweet. So while now I have to go out and spend money on a new GPS unit, I look forward to building a lasting relationship with a GPS unit that doesn’t take joy in my misery.

Here’s that back-story:  A few years ago, I got a new GPS unit, a Garmin Nuvi 650W as a birthday present. I loaded in the female Australian voice which Garmin named “Karen”. The name stuck. That’s was about four years ago, and this weekend, on our way to visit a friend up near Boston, her touch screen finally gave out.

[caption id="attachment_408" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Karen and me, in happier times"]Garmin Nuvi 650W[/caption]

Since our first drive together, Karen and I have had our ups and downs in our relationship. She went all over the country with me in my travels, and found a home on the dash of many rental cars. She got me through Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles more times than I can count. Sometimes she has bailed me out of some real sticky situations. She even once acted as a tattletale when a valet decided to take my car on a 143 MPH joyride.

But the good times are few and far between. I remember the time she dropped me in a field in the middle of Pennsylvania, about 30 miles away from my destination, not even in the same town. She had an uncanny ability to let me know I had to turn immediately after passing the street, and when there was no way where to turn around. No matter what, even if it was backed up for miles, she always wanted me to take the Long Island Expressway. I never understood why she would literally take me 5 miles out of the way to get from the Northern state to the LIE.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of a car trip with me knows about Karen and our verbally abusive relationship. I would yell. She would typically respond with “Recalculating – Make U turn” in her cool, emotionless voice. And then there was the time we got lost out in the Mojave and she started making up roads. Really, there was nothing on the map, yet she insisted on making a turn directly into the woods. She also had a knack for saying the wrong road names on major routes. Need to go somewhere near 27 / Sunrise highway? Instead she always called it the POW Memorial parkway.  While this was very confusing, her pronunciation of different Long Island road names was always entertaining.  Lane choices? She frequently enjoyed telling me to get into the far left lane on major highways, and letting me know I had to take a left exit in 200 feet. Cause that’s fun at 60 mph.  I really think she was jealous of my wife. It got so bad I was nervous to let her go on a trip with Karen without me for fear she would get her lost on purpose.

So now I need a new GPS. They have come a long way in the last four years, and now I’m looking at bigger screens, traffic updates, A/V inputs, and a unit that won’t try to murder me.

It’s never easy to say goodbye, but I have a feeling that her spirit will more than likely come back to haunt me.



On another note -  I'm starting to pull together a list of the a douchebag's favorite cars. Let me know if you have any input.