Friday, January 11, 2013

Stupid Lady... Not So Stupid?

Please, help me turn from an 'Up-and-Comer' to a Rising Star!

The voting is only open for another couple of days in the Preditors&Editors Readers Poll for 2012. I have a chance, a pretty good chance it seems, to win the Horror Short Story category with my story "Photo Finish", as published by Post Mortem Press. I just need one little thing.

Your vote.

Please, if you could just take two minutes of your time, click on the link below and cast your vote for "Photo Finish.
Membership is not required. All that's required is the desire to help a small artist's burgeoning career.

Two minutes and the desire to help. Won't you?

Thank you for your help and support.

...and now, here's the story:

So Handsome had a wrestling tournament on Sunday morning. Early. It was about an an hour away from home, so that meant we had to get up and leave early.


Now, if you know me, you probably suspect the words “Rob was right on time” have never been spoken during the course of my life. Even I have that suspicion. I was, surprise surprise, running just a bit late. However, I had the address, I had a GPS unit, and I had little to no traffic.

I drive using a Garmin GPS unit all the time. The unit (just in case you’ve never seen on in operation) talks to you, like a smooth, female-voiced nagging backseat driver. I tend to refer to it as ‘the Stupid Lady’.

“In two miles, take a right, onto Richardson road.”

“In one and a half miles, take a right, onto Richardson road.”

“In one mile, take a right onto Richardson road.”

“In a half-mile, take a right onto Richardson road.”

“In 500 yards, take a right onto Richardson road.”

“In 200 yards, take a right into Richardson road.”

“In 100 yards, take a right on to Richardson road.”

“In 100 feet, take a right on to Richardson road.”

“Take a right, onto Richardson road. Take it now. Right now turn right rightnowyou’regoingtomissityoudummy—”

You get the picture.

So there I was, listening to this otherwise very pleasant voiced Stupid Lady giving me the most strict and detailed directions you ever saw, heard, or read about. Anywhere. Trust me. The whole way she gave warnings, directions and instructions. Handsome laughs at me, but I tend to talk back to the machine. I start out with thank-yous, then try to ignore her, but eventually I start snapping at her. It’s kind of fun, and that thing yapping at me constantly does get pretty annoying.

So there we were, zipping up the highway, and along came our exit. Madam Garmin warned us that the exit was coming up. In excruciating detail. About nine times. She even told us about the exit as we were taking it!

“Yes, you Stupid Lady,” I said to her. I wasn’t exactly shouting, but it was getting there. “I know, I know! Take the exit on my right! I get it! I get it! For God’s sake, shut up!”
Then, once we were on the exit ramp, the display screen on the GPS changed. It showed just the diagram of a traffic circle, an actual circle on the screen, with individual roads leading out from it. The highlighted route went into the circle on one road, half-way around it (passing one roundabout exit on the way), then out the other side. If the circle wasn’t in the diagram, the route would have been a simple straight line.

I looked through the windshield at what lay ahead.

There was no traffic circle.

It was an intersection, where I could either go right, left, or just go straight on through.
I hit the brakes and came to a halt, staring from the GPS display to reality, then back again. I was hoping they would suddenly match up, but it didn’t happen.

Traffic circle with the marked route going just as straight through as can be.



I sat and waited for the Stupid Lady to speak up, to tell me which way to go. Straight? Turn?

Nothing but silence.


Nothing but silence.

“Well,” I said, “Okay… the route on the map goes straight, so…”

I drove straight on through the intersection, continuing on the same off-ramp route I was on.

Immediately the screen changed, flashing a single word over and over, the same word the Stupid Lady was repeating at me, again and again:

“Recalculating… Recalculating…Recalculating…”

“Oh, seriously!? You chose that exact time to shut up?”

I saw that I was cruising right back out onto the highway I had just left, bypassing the exit I was apparently supposed to take. I fumed silently as we pulled back into the slight morning traffic.

“In one mile, take exit 30 on the right.”

“In a half mile, take exit 30 on the right.”

“In a quarter mile, take exit 30 on the right.”

I listened. I drove. I did not talk.

We circled around, but made it to the tournament on time.

I still hate her. Stupid Lady.

Talk to you later!

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