Before Siri, I Was the Only One Telling Randy Were to Go — RVing in Retirement

I am thankful for GPS and Google Maps

Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Our daughters claim they never heard us argue when they were children — unless we were traveling. I remember those days. Randy would be driving the 32-foot motorhome and I would navigate, or at least trying to because, as some of you know, I am directionally challenged. Maps and I don’t get a long very well. These were the days before GPS and Google Maps. The only person telling my husband were to go was me and sometimes it wasn’t in a sweet voice like Alexa.

Does anyone else have to hold the map so it aligns with the direction the car is headed? It just doesn’t work otherwise.

Back in the day, I found success reading a map as we traveled on the freeway, but in the city all bets were off. Maybe that is how we ended up on Lombard Street in San Francisco. Remember, we were driving a 32-foot motorhome. For anyone unfamiliar, it is advertised as the crookedest, steepest street in the world with 8 hairpin turns. So as we ascended this street it is no wonder Randy raised his voice and I screamed, “It’s not my fault!” when it probably was.

I will always remember our daughter’s faces of concern as the two of us argued about what to do next when we realized there was no turning around. And I will never forget the police officers’ astonished looks as they sat on horses staring as we approached the top of the hill. I imagine they could have given us a ticket but why add insult to injury as we were already frustrated enough. At the end we found our way out of the big city but it was a quiet evening, implying we were not talking to each other. We only laugh about it now, years later.

We also discovered a map doesn’t help direct a vehicle when the driver finds himself in the middle of the Calgary Stampede Parade in British Columbia. In my defense, the parade route was not outlined on the map. I told our kids to wave and smile, pretending we were just a part of the festivities until we could weave onto a less traveled path. It wasn’t my fault my husband pulled to the side of the road for directions allowing the dog to get out and greet the observers who lined the streets. To this day I am still surprised she wasn’t trampled by a horse. But in the end, we discovered the correct path and made it out without a penalty. Those Canadian Mounties reminded me of the kind police officers in San Francisco.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Fast forward 20 years

We don’t use maps much anymore because Siri rides with us. Randy and I have learned to accept her advice and follow her directions even when logic tells us there is a simpler way to arrive at our destination than traveling through a neighborhood. Sure, Randy may grumble and make remarks that there has to be a better route but as long as he isn’t yelling at me, I don’t care. I simply respond, “We should just follow her instructions.”

During these questionable times, I look at maps on my phone so he thinks I am helping but usually I am simply looking for a donut shop in the area. Admittedly, Siri has taken us the long way around a couple of times but she is the only virtual person who earns the stink eye.

It Takes Two

As we have aged, Randy and I recognize we still need each other. Though we have thrown out the map, I am still required to navigate but my responsibilities have changed.

  • Randy is all thumbs so I type information into the phone.
  • When I say turn right, Randy knows I mean left.
  • When Siri speaks and Randy’s hearing aids can’t decipher her words, I translate.
  • When I am holding the phone upside down, Randy calmly provides instruction.
  • When I say it is 2920 miles to Portland, Randy asks if I am looking at Oregon. So, I adjust my query and tell him it is 425 miles.

It is nice to know that with the advancement of technology, the passenger is not becoming isolate. We’ve been together for 40 years, and he still needs me.

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