Monday, 16 April 2012


Dear Reader,

Once upon a time there were no satellite navigation systems and your phone was just a phone. During those days people lived in caves and huddled round fires for warmth. When they needed to visit another cave they had to use strange pieces of paper with lines and symbols on them called maps. Maps came in two sizes, far too big and far too small, there was no in-between. If people travelled by car, someone would be nominated the navigator, who would be the master or mistress of the map. Heated exchanges would often be conducted between the driver and the navigator. Phrases such as "I meant the other left" were commonly used. It was a dark and mysterious time. People were often late for appointments.

An all too-common discussion regarding left and right.

Oh, the irony.
The Dear Lady Wife would use me as navigator even if I wasn't there. She had long ago decided that the symbols and lines on maps were just that, symbols and lines. They were also not to be trusted. A phone conversation would take place shortly before the DLW was due to arrive at her destination. A transcript is needed:

DLW: I am out of the underground and I walked the way you told me. I cannot see my destination.
Moi: What can you see?
DLW: Buildings, shops, a street magician.
Moi: I was hoping for a street name. 
DLW: Oh, Frog Street. 
Moi: You are heading in the opposite direction to which we discussed.
DLW: Are you sure your map is not upside down.
Moi: It's on a computer screen.
DLW: Well you clearly told me the wrong thing this morning otherwise I wouldn't be here now!

I can only assume that wherever DLW is when these conversations take place there is so much background noise that it is hard to hear the sound of her own voice. As a consequence she feels the need to screech. I miss those conversations.

Now people live in houses and shiny tower blocks and they have central heating. Huddling round fires is a lifestyle choice. Being late for appointments is a lifestyle choice. One contributor to this dramatic change in fortune is the invention of satellite navigation systems. 

There is nothing more comforting than being told where to go (in the nicest possible way.) Alternatively I can view a map that is the right size without killing myself. I do not have to understand geography anymore. If I visit the same faraway place twice I do not have to retain the route in my mind. As a consequence I can fill this now under-used portion of my brain with more important things like cricket stats.

Lovely Sat-Nav

In the hands of the DLW the satellite navigation system takes on a different, evil persona. Sat-nav can lie, tell half-truths, even speak in tongues. It can be deliberately upside-down, get confused between left and right, it can even lose contact with the sky. It can attempt sat-nav suicide by willfully throwing itself off the dashboard into the footwell of the car at a vital moment. It has even been known to mime.

DLW Sat-Nav
None of this has ever happened to me. The DLW has a special relationship with sat-nav, it is a relationship that needs counselling. As a result we still have those lovely conversations that I miss so much and that is good.

Tomorrow, Dear Reader, I will be ogling the letter O.



  1. This is hilarious hahah!
    Honestly, I am terrible at navigation and just started driving. My mother has punished me by refusing to get me a GPS and I don't have a smartphone either so I am forced to rely on my poor navigation skills and the strange pieces of paper with lines on them. Yes I still live in that old time.
    (I am actually grateful to my mother because my navigation skills have significantly improved since which would not have happened if I was depending on technology to do the thinking for me)

    1. Well done you. It's hard enough being a new driver without having to worry about all of this navigation stuff as well, so good luck

  2. Unfortunately, I am the woman that the stereotype(we can't read maps) is based on.

    Having no sense of direction, I get lost coming out of my own house.

    Great post. :)

    1. Therefore your life must be a constant adventure. Embrace the chaos :)

  3. *looks at floor*
    I am also DLW (a moniker that had me rolling, by the way).
    Maybe it's part of being female. I WISH I could navigate without the little voice with the British accent telling me to turn left in .5 miles, turn left, TURN LEFT NOW. (Nothing is more shameful that that unvoiced sigh right before you hear the word: recalculating.) But, sadly, it's not one of my strong points.