Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Irony, So Hungry For a Bite of Hick's Butt

For weeks I had been telling Hick about the writing conference excursion. Val Thevictorian doesn't get out much. This was big. Almost casino-trip big! I made sure Hick was free to drive The Pony and me to our literary destination. I paid him off with flea market/antique store cash. Dotted every i and crossed every t. Nothing was going to hamper our trip. Nothing. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor sweaving of Hick.

I consulted my BFF Google about the venue. Checked the conference website. I had a schematic of the building. A street view. An aerial map. Distance between cities. Driving directions. The address for both streets of the corner upon which sat our meeting place. Hick assured me that he know where he was going.

"I went there with Genius, when he had that academic comptetion. I know where that is. It's really easy to get to. It takes about an hour and a half. We could leave at 6:15 and be fine."

I planned to leave at 6:00 a.m. to make sure we arrived by 8:00.

Hick left The Pony and I getting ready and went to sit in T-Hoe in the garage at 5:40. That's what he does. Always jumps up the departure time, usually by at least a half hour. Always. I refuse to be manipulated. The Pony and I climbed into T-Hoe at 6:00. I saw that Hick had hooked up his GPS.

"Where are we going?"

"I told you. University Center."

"I need a street address, Val."

"You told me you know where you're going."

"I do. But I'm putting it in my GPS."

"Huh. Good thing I wrote that down. It's 388 Henderson Avenue."

"North or South?"

"I don't know. It didn't have North or South in the address."

"Well, I have to know that. It won't take this address."

"That's the address given by all the sites I looked up. Maybe our GPS doesn't know what it's doing."

"It does if it has a valid address."

"It's on the corner of Henderson and Normal."

"I can't put that in the GPS, Val. I need a number."

"Fine. Pony, hand me my padfolio. There. It's 975 Normal Avenue."

"There. It took that one."

"All you have to do is take the Kingshighway Exit, turn left on Broadway, and left on Henderson."

"I've got it in my GPS."

"Good. I thought you knew where you were going."

"I do. It's where I went to watch Genius compete in that robots competition. He was way down on the floor with the other teams. I watched from the seats up high."

"Um. I don't think that's where we would be having a writers' conference."

By this time, we were down our gravel road, up the other gravel road that runs past our other 10 acres, and out on the county blacktop road headed for our lettered highway that would connect us to the interstate. It was simple, really. A left. A right. A right onto the interstate for about an hour. Then the exit.

"You said the Show-Me Center."

"I did NOT! I said University Center!"

"Do you even know which direction it is from here?"

"Well, I would say it's south of here. Since the name of the college is Southeast Missouri State."

"Ha! It's southEAST!"

"Like I didn't know that."

"You think you know EVERYTHING!"

"I may not know everything, but I know more than you."

It was at this moment Hick's GPS instructed him: "TURN LEFT IN ZERO POINT FIVE MILES."  The opposite direction from which we should turn to hit the interstate. Even The Pony, a non-driver, knew that. I looked back at him. He slapped his forehead.

"SEE! This thing doesn't even know how to get you there!"

"It does that, Val! It sometimes tries to take you by the main highways. It's trying to take us up the interstate to hit the other interstate. It'll get itself straightened out in a minute. It always does. Sometimes it says, 'Recalculating.'"


Hick took off like he was the pole car at the Daytona 500. If he had been a roller coaster at Six Flags, there would have been a sign warning riders to steer clear if they had heart issues, back problems, or a bun in the oven. For the next 13 miles of sweaving too fast for conditions, we had to listen to that nonGARMIN knockoff GPS announce, every minute, "MAKE A LEGAL U-TURN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."

Hick set his jaw and continued his qualifying round.  No way was he going to admit that Val was smarter than his Generic Positioning System.

Such sweet justice. Such unequivocal irony.


  1. When it comes to directions, my wife has a much better sense of direction in our town, but when we're somewhere foreign, I have a better sense of direction.

    1. You two are a perfect match. Like Jack Spratt and his Mrs.

  2. Recalculating? That's another way of saying, "You got lost, idiot!" (And I should know, because my traveling- BFF Tom Tom tells me that frequently.

    Turn in 0.5 miles... Turn now... Didn't I say--TURN NOW, STUPID.

  3. Years ago we got a Garmin as a Christmas present, apparently purchased as a black Friday bargain. It never quite worked right and got us lost several times before we finally realized it was totally defective. I took great pleasure smashing it with a sledge.

    1. ACK! Say it isn't so! Garmin has been putting bread on Genius's table this summer. He gets a 45% discount, too. I was ready to buy us all around of Garmins. I think I'll give them out as Christmas presents...

  4. Yeah, when it tells to make a legal U-turn asap, you are definetly headed in the wrong direction.

    1. We were actually taking the shortest route, because we know the back roads. It was giving the route most taken. And that made all the difference in proving to Hick that Val is smarter than a machine.

  5. I have a friend who has similar arguments with her husband over his female-voiced GPS that they named Kitty. I think it's only a matter of time before Kitty ends up in a bag at the bottom of a lake.

  6. Those GPS devices don't always have all the information they need. But I learned in Phoenix when we first got there this last time that it was smarter than I was.

    1. I would trust one in Phoenix. In Backroads, not so much. Most of the time, you can't really get there from here. No grid layout, just a bunch of overgrown pig trails.

  7. Try driving cross country with that broad recalculating your every move. I proved right twice and you know who had to admit it.

    1. Men and their gadgets! We run a poor second.