Off Topic- Answering Musette

snowflakesI was reading Musette’s post of a couple days ago and started to comment, then the comment became so Proustian in length I decided just to make it a post in itself.

I hate winter. I grew up in New England and dealt with snow because it’s something you simply cannot escape, and when you grow up with it you just deal. Even at times when it’s too dangerous for the heating oil people to come up the hill until some of it melts and you’re going to spending the night wearing all your clothes and as many blankets as you can scrounge. I also lived briefly in the midwest and winters there made me wonder why people in Detroit waited so freaking long to invent the heated steering wheel? My STS had heated seats that I adored and I live in California. To where I moved in part to never have to cope with snow. Even if the big one hits tomorrow and flings me in the general direction of Hawaii, 25 years of 70 degree winters will make becoming minnow food worth it.

As far as GPS, the last time I used one was when my friend Bitsy came to visit and she had one in her rental. She programmed it to get to Santa Barbara. It had a rather snotty accent, and first directed me to go North on Maple and make a left on Santa Monica. Only problem was that not only is there no light there, there’s no road. A stand of trees runs between Civic Center Drive and Santa Monica and I don’t think Avis would approve of me going 4-wheeling in the Mitsubishi Mylanta or whatever it was. 
Sally Lou, as we eventually christened her, snipplily intoned “Recalculating!”
This was a recurring theme. I’ve lived in LA long enough to know what streets to take and which ones not to. Sally Lou invariably picked the worst possible options and got snippy every time I declined her advice. Including having a partial meltdown when, on the way back from Santa Barbara going to Ojai, I refused to take her advice and took an exit that woul save me 60 miles and actually be scenic.
But people love them. I remember going a to a meeting downtown with a friend of mine. She had CoMand in her Benz and was trying to program the destination in at stop lights. Which was about as easy as trying to play chess on a roller coaster. I kept telling her (since I worked downtown for more than a decade) exactly how to get there, she tap, tap, tapped until German Engineering told us to get on the Hollywood Freeway. You NEVER want to get on the Hollywood Freeway at 8am going downtown. You could walk faster.
I’m sure they’re getting better (although my time in a 2013 SRX with CUE means the jury is still out) but I think I’ll rely upon myself and my ancient copy of the Thomas Guide, at least for travel in Los Angeles County, thanks.
Image: From this site, WordPress is hating me at the moment and won’t let me upload mine.

This is interesting too!

12 Comments

  1. Tom,
    I have zero sense of direction and my memory is shot. Every day I thank the universe for my GPS. Yes, sometimes it takes me the long way but I do get there.
    Portia xx

  2. Greetings from the winter wonderland that is Massachusetts. I just saw the forecast and we may be getting a break this next week with temps above freezing and no plowable snow in the new few days. Yay! I could go on my own snow rant right now but I’ll spare everyone.
    I have a GPS but in all honesty I prefer maps and written directions. I like to see the whole picture on a map because I agree with you that some times Sally Lou doesn’t have my best interest at heart. I’m not one of those people who is completely dependent on their cell phones and apps and I’d like to stay that way. I’m okay with having to think something through once in a while. Most times I really don’t care if there’s an app for it. I do use the GPS but I also research my route on a map as well.

  3. I vaguely remember having to use a Thomas Brothers when I moved to San Diego. My sense of direction was so horrible, getting to the ocean took a sextant, a compass, and three pieces of paper to write my route in excruciating detail. I mean, hello, west! Now Siri gets me anywhere I want to go, usually with me telling her how dumb she is for taking the 5 in the afternoon, rather than better surface streets. It’s a darned good problem to have! Unlike you, I came here to escape the desert heat. I’ve never minded the cold, but even a dry 115 is just too damned much for me.

    • I lived in Huntington Beach/Seal Beach for most of my 20 + years in SoCal. When I first moved there, I went looking for the ocean which I knew was within a mile or two of my apartment, and blithely headed west,because duh.

      Imagine my surprise when it took 45 minutes to see any water and I found myself clear over in Redondo Beach. I had no idea the beaches in north Orange County were south facing!

      • Hilarious! Down here…you just take 8 west…you’ll hit sand. My dumb luck, I’d end up in El Cajon wondering how in sweet baby Jesus I missed all that water!

  4. My best friend has absolutely no sense of direction – she could get lost in a tupperware bowl – and GPS has changed her life, especially after moving to a large city. Here in my rural corner of the Midwest, I know roads like the back of my hand but when I need to find an address I use Google maps, known to us as Google lady, and it works well.

  5. Haha sorry but have you seen the SNL skit, “The Californians”? One of the reoccurring jokes is that Californians are obsessed with talking about street names and giving directions.

  6. If I got started on my GPS rant you’d have to give me my own post, too! I have a very good sense of direction to begin with, and I would by far rather have a map or a good ol’ Thomas Guide in my hands than depend on Madame, who is pretty much just a one-trick pony. (Ironically, I am not the best at map-reading, and tend to forget to adjust the map to face the direction I’m going in)

    And now that I’m living in a very rural area, I find GPS even more infuriating. Madame is an elitist snob who can’t be bothered to stay au currant on all the dirt roads back here. She’d rather have you drive 40 miles out of the way than sully herself on The Great Unpaved.

    My husband used his in SoCal to check on the accident/traffic/construction alerts, but anything that would advise you to get on the 405 at 5 pm is suspect in my mind and I wouldn’t trust it to tell me about anything.

  7. I have no sense of direction and I cannot figure out how to make the GPS thing work in my Toyota Sienna, so I go to Mapquest and print out the directions before I go anywhere. It is not super efficient but a lot more efficient than not getting where I need to go on time. Also, once I figure out a reliable way to get someplace, I ALWAYS go the same way. It may not be the fastest but it will sure be a lot faster than if I get lost trying some newfangled way to get there.

  8. I have lived many years in both the Southwest (LA) and Northeast (NYC) United States. I have found both regions have charms, advantages, and disadvantages. As far as weather goes, I’ve learned that cold is not my friend, so I’m staying where it is warm. And I stay off the freeway after 3:30 pm.

  9. OMG! I nearly missed this!!! LA……..oh, the places I’ve gotten lost in LA. ,,,,,,,,,Tom, the only thing more insane than GPS in LA (imo) is trying to navigate LA with no map at all! Which I have never done because Already Incapable…

    this was a blast! thanks! xoxoxoxoA

  10. Our gps unit is retired as we just ask the phone for directions; maybe its google?

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