Appliance Defiance

If you’ve been with me a while, you already know about my boundary-challenged microwave, and how the washing machine nearly pushed me over the edge. Now, if you can believe it, I have taken to arguing with my car’s navigation system.

The nav, which I like to call my GPS Escort — “GypsE” for short — is built into the dash. GypsE has a pleasant, unaccented feminine voice. I simply push the voice-command button, ask for Navigation, and she invites me to share my goals with her. “What state, please? For Canada, please say a province.” (It would save a great deal of time if I didn’t have to listen to the instructions every single time. Oh, well.)

GypsE then hands my request off to an assistant, who has prepared by making voice recordings of every possible syllable, plus numbers and such, and put them in a file. When called upon, she grabs the pertinent syllables, lines them up in order and plays them back. I refer to her as GypsE’s ReOrdered Syllable Enunciator, or “GypsE ROSE.” She probably means well, but besides having a mechanical-sounding voice, she sometimes has trouble understanding me.

First, before ROSE says anything, I give her the name of a state, town or street as GypsE directs. ROSE listens to my request and shows a list of names that I might possibly have meant. Often, the one I want is at the top of the list, followed by other reasonable choices. Like when I say “Dallas” The list will show “1. DALLAS,” and then “2. ALICE.” So far, so good — GypsE tells me to say a number, I tell her “One,” and we go from there. But some names are less straightforward. Many are of Spanish origin, or German or Czech. Unfortunately, GypsE ROSE is a bit of an “ugly American” — non-English words completely flummox her.

One fine morning I started out for an on-location interview at Fort Parker. I knew how to get there, but thought it might be nice to have a reminder when I got to the highway leading from the Interstate toward Mexia (pronounced “meh-hay-uh”). Since I never go that way, I was afraid of lapsing into auto-pilot and missing my exit.

GypsE and I established that, as usual, I was going somewhere in Texas. Then: “Please say the city name.”

“Meh-hay-uh,” I replied, with some foreboding but perfect diction. ROSE accepted the challenge and came up with:

1. NATALIA
2. MAGNOLIA
3. ROCKDALE (How’d that get in there?)
4. McDADE

I could feel my eyebrows go up as I glanced at the screen full of irrelevant names. “Please say a number from the displayed list…” GypsE, the boss, prompted me.

“What? No,” I sputtered. “I said ‘Meh-hay-uh!'”

GypsE tried to intervene. “Please say again.”

ROSE had me pinned, and she knew it. I backed up to “Please say the city name.” It felt all wrong but finally I gritted out, “Mex-ee-uh.”

ROSE smugly offered a list topped by “1. MEXIA” and “2. LEXINGTON,” which sound nothing alike once you know how the locals pronounce Mexia, whatever language it might come from. “One!” I barked. “Just remind me to exit.”

For another example, take the Spanish word “Grande,” correctly pronounced “Grahn-de.” If you tell ROSE you want “Grande Avenue,” she will think for a moment, then offer options like “1. ANDRE, 2. COTTONWOOD, 3. GARLAND.” If you ever in your life want to find Grande, you have to pronounce it “Grand.”

ROSE can’t even read her own writing. Sometimes she emphasizes the wrong syllables, pauses in the middle of a word or runs two words together, until you can hardly make out what she means.

Once when the directions called for a turn onto “Walnut Grove Road,” ROSE garbled out something like “Wall… nutGroveroad.” When driving with friends, I have requested an address on this road, just to get her to say the name for them, like a stupid pet trick.

“Uhl,” pronounced like “Yule,” comes out “Eeeuhghrll.” Every time.

I’ll close for now. I have to go see what GypsE ROSE does with the city of Natchitoches, Louisiana–which is, of course, pronounced “Nack-uh-dish.”

I’m not actually going there, and I don’t need ROSE to guide me. Now I’m just messing with her.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Linking up with the Company Girls
and
my Soli Deo Gloria friends at Finding Heaven.

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18 Responses to Appliance Defiance

  1. I argue with my husband’s nav system. I feel just as betrayed when he trusts her directions over mine than I would if he went out with another woman. Well, probably not. But it feels that way.

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  2. zoanna says:

    Cute post. I absolutely despise the GPS. I’d rather get lost on my own. Seriously! But I do get a kick out of some of her “misunderstandings” or pronunciations. My hubby likes it well enough, but
    it frustrates me to no end, especially if someone gets the address a wee bit wrong. We took vacation in the middle of the night from Maryland to SC, which is pretty much a straight shot down 95. Well, somewhere in NC, while I was sleeping, we ended up on back roads at 3 a.m. where I feared all sorts of road kill would jump out and get us.

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    • Jan says:

      Hi, Zoanna! I really like having GypsE and have come to depend on her, but that “scenic roadkill detour” might dampen my enthusiasm as well. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. joyceandnorm says:

    Too funny! In our car we have Karl. He’s pretty good with directions, but then again so are we. =p The rental we just had for our vacation was not so great with the pronunciations either. We usually just type it it but it doesn’t always find the names either. I had the pronunciation problem when making calls hands-free.

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    • Jan says:

      Hey, Joyce, My system takes FOREVER to type things in. I’m too impatient, so I just start driving and then enter the address orally as I go. Maybe ROSE and Karl would like to meet… 😀 Glad you stopped by!

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  4. jennibell says:

    Ha! Ha! I like the “old-fashioned” kind where you can’t talk. . .only type 🙂 Sometimes making life easier doesn’t make it easier at all. . .

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  5. Jen says:

    Janice…oh, Janice. I’m really glad that my little city and the big city that I am next to are quite English…American, whatever. You will have no difficulty finding me. I’ll have to scrounge around for some appliance around here so I can see you tango with them in real life. I am in the market for a new toaster oven. I’ll have to see if there is one that would pass the “annoy Janice” test.

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  6. Misty says:

    This post made me laugh… while we haven’t named our navigation system I love how she always seems to drop us of in abandoned parking lots and empty fields.. and repeatedly tells me.. “You have arrived at your final destination.”… In which I reply, “No I haven’t!” ahh.. the appliance defiance 🙂

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    • Jan says:

      Hi, Misty, It is great to hear from you. GypsE ROSE tends to get the street address wrong too, although she has at least never led me into an empty field. Probably only because she hasn’t thought of it.

      I loved your post today, by the way! I almost feel guilty linking such goofy posts when so many of the ladies are sharing deep, sincere thoughts. Blessings, Jan

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  7. debbie says:

    Great post! Laughter is good for the soul!

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