How to Use a GPS


Pete: Can you enter the address to Daniel’s party?

Me: I already did. Want me to start route guidance?

Pete: Yup.

[I fumble with the GPS and get it to launch]

GPS: Please follow the road for 3 miles.

Pete: That ain’t the right way. She’s taking us beyond the 95 North ramp.

Me: First, it’s not a she. It’s a machine with a woman’s voice. Second, I think the GPS, which relies on satellite signals and triangulation has the correct and most efficient route.

Pete: She’s — it’s wrong. I’m taking 95 North.

Me: The GPS indicates we’ll arrive in 14 minutes. Why not just follow the GPS? Take a risk.

Pete: I’ll follow it but I know this will take longer. I can get there on 95 in like 10 minutes.

GPS: Prepare to turn right. Turn right in 500 feet onto Oaklawn Avenue.

Pete: When do I turn right?

Me: Are you listening? It’s telling you when to turn.

Pete: I wasn’t paying attention.

Me: You do realize it also shows you where to turn. [I point to the screen.] See that blue arrow. That’s the path you take. And see how it blinks when you are supposed to turn. See it blinking? That means you turn in the direction of the arrow. Right now.

[Pete passes the right turn.]

Me: You missed the turn.

Pete: That was our turn. Why didn’t she warn me.

Me: It did warn you. It said turn right like 9 times. It can’t be dumbed down any further. It tells you to prepare to turn. It tells you you’re about to turn and it tells you to turn NOW. Were you expecting it to turn the wheel for you as well? It’s telling you exactly what to do.

Pete: Does it tell me why my partner is mean?

Me: No. That requires a plugin you need to download.

GPS: Prepare to turn right in 500 feet onto Smith street.

Pete: This thing is screwed up. It’s not a right turn. It can’t be. Pawtucket is on the other side of the river so we need to turn left. I’m turning left.

[Pete turns left.]

Pete: What the hell? Where are we?

Me: It appears to be a dead end.

Pete: This is the worst GPS I’ve ever used. It’s a piece of crap.

Me: Maybe you could just try to follow the instructions and see what happens.

Pete: We don’t have time for that! We’re going to be late now.

Me: Not to irritate you further, but we would have been there by now if you had followed the original route. That’s what a GPS does. You tell it where you want to go and it guides you there. That’s just an observation I wanted to share with you.

Pete: I have an observation. Want to hear it?

Me: That’s not necessary. I have a healthy imagination.







The Transgender Christmas Tree

Ahh, that time of the year again. Putting up the Christmas Tree. I can think of only one worse activity: Having my toenails gnawed off by a rabid honey badger.

Last night, we unpacked our first pre-lit tree. The first step was to locate the male and female receptors.

“Do you know what a female receptor is?” Pete asked.

“Is that a trick question?” I replied. I haven’t a clue what a female receptor is.

“What does one even look like?” Pete asked.

“I’m not an expert on this particular topic but I’m going to assume it will look like a cup or a chalice,” I replied. “I remember that from The Da Vinci Code.”

Thank God the 123-page instruction manual was illustrated.

“We’re missing a female receptor,” Pete said. “We have three males, one female.”

“That could be an interesting way to celebrate the holidays,” I replied.

Pete wasn’t amused. “Don’t be funny right now. Let’s focus on getting this tree up. I’m already stressed.”

“Do we really need both female receptors?” I asked.

Apparently that second female receptor is critical. “If I’m deciphering the pictures correctly, the second female receptor is what allows the tree to-,” Pete said before stopping abruptly. “Stand erect with substantial girth.” 

“We are putting a Christmas Tree up, right?” I asked Pete. He nodded. “Okay, let’s hop online and order a replacement piece.”

Note: I would not recommend typing “cheap female receptor” into your web browser. Trust me on this.

After nearly an hour of sifting through craigslist ads and invitations to join naughty webcam shows, we gave up. I had to down a shot of vodka immediately after closing the browser.

“I think we’ll need to improvise,” I said. “Hand me one of the male receptors.”

Pete threw a receptor to me and I spent a few minutes bending and twisting it. I curved the male receptor into a shape that came as close as possible to the one female receptor we had on hand.

“Let’s see if this works,” I said.

Pete and I lifted the base of the tree and slid the male receptor into our newly converted one.

“Okay, let go of the tree,” I said. Pete backed away and the tree stayed upright. “Oh my God. It worked. The lights are lit and everything!”

“Does this mean we have a transgender tree?” Pete asked.

“I guess I hadn’t really thought about it that way. But I believe it does.”

Pete stared at the tree for a minute and then raised his eyebrows. “Hmm. Okay. What’s for dinner. I’m starving.”

Water Sports

My latest discussion with Pete.

Me: The water department called today.

Pete: Oh yeah? What did they say?

Me: They asked me if we were running a water park.

Pete: That’s a strange question.

Me: Not when you take into consideration we consumed 11,000 cubic feet of water last month.

Pete: Is that a lot?

Me: That’s like 88,000 gallons of water. In one month.

Pete: That doesn’t seem so bad.

Me: That’s like 5 swimming pools.

Pete: Above or in-ground?

Me: Maybe we should cut back on watering the lawn.

Pete: I want green grass.

Me: Shorter showers?

Pete: I have back issues. The hot water helps.

Me: Okay, but I’m probably going to have to start selling myself on Craigslist to pay for the water bill.

Pete: Do you think you’ll be able to generate enough revenue? At your age?

Me: I hate you.