Fred Garmin, Male Prostitute

Yes, I know it’s really Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute, but every time I pick up my new Garmin GPS, I can’t help but say “Fred Garmin, Male Prostitute”  with a swanky lilt to my voice.

Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute

Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute

Dan Aykroyd  aside, I love my new Garmin. And I’ll  tell ya why. I have no sense of direction.  Yup, none-at-all. Have you ever heard people say that they feel weird when they become disoriented and cannot find “North”? I feel like that ALL THE TIME.  I always go the wrong way. ALWAYS. And I’ve not learned to ignore my ‘instincts’ yet.

I’m a big fan of printed out directions. Except reading them on the road can be a hazard, as you might well conclude. Plus I’m utterly hopeless in the dark.  And for some unknown reason, getting there is less onerous than getting home. My brain cannot recreate a route and flip all my left turns to right turns and right to left. I’m convinced one or both of my hippocampi is damaged. I’ve never had good spatial navigation or perception.  It’s the one thing that kept me out of the ‘gifted’ program when I was in grade school.  All the kids went to the library for testing, I got lost and ended up in the gym. Go figure.

Anyway, my lack of directional sense is funny in retrospect and hilarious in the recounting of stories where I only had one way to turn to get some place, and I inevitably ended up elsewhere. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s a drag. I’m kind of afraid of driving new places – well, not kind of…but definitely. I can usually get there ok, but I have a knot in my stomach the ENTIRE time I’m where-ever because I’m worried about the drive home. And getting lost…again.

Right after high school, when I was working for my mom, I used to give out bagel samples at Costco (yup, that was me) and other grocery stores around Tucson. Then she branched out to Phoenix and I had to drive up there once. So were’ talking the late 80s/early 90s…no cell phones, no Google maps, no GPS (or sat nav as the Brits call it)… just myself in a car following my brother in his car. He drives like a maniac – I’m terrified and trying to follow his car going 90 MPH on the interstate. By the time I got to Costco, I wanted to puke.  My brother helps me set up and then leaves.  I have no idea where I am or how to get home. So four hours later I’ve got myself into quite a frenzy worrying about driving. Finally, I broke down and called my Mom sobbing because it was dark and I was completely undone. Thank GOD she lived just outside of Phoenix because she had to drive to the store so I could follow her home. I spent the night at her place at that point because I was a complete mess.  And it shouldn’t be like that.  EVER.

I was stuck in San Francisco on 9/11 because I was terrified of driving a rental car (and obviously, I was not going to get on plane AT ALL). I waited 3 days and took a bus to Bakersfield, CA where my husband picked me up.  So obviously, this issue can be kind of debilitating.

UNTIL NOW! I love my Garmin.  Having that little rectangular box on my dashboard has given me a crazy amount of freedom and self confidence.  I have been driving to all sorts of new places and even turning at the wrong street intentionally so I can watch the magic of “recalculating route”.  It always knows how to get me home.  This was one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever.  I’m even looking forward to going to Scottsdale next weekend to test my skills in an unfamiliar city.  No more worrying about getting lost. I can’t describe to you how much this little device has opened up my world.

Wanna go someplace?



About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Driving, Humor, Random Thoughts, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Fred Garmin, Male Prostitute

  1. The Hook says:

    I serve travelers but i rarely travel myself, so I’m in!

  2. Pingback: Giving the Gift of Sound and Vision (and Movement) | The Mercenary Researcher

  3. MissFourEyes says:

    You can always find me yelling at my car’s GPS. I end up using what I call the Local GPS. You roll down the window, get the person you see and ask for directions. Never fails.

  4. Oh this reminds me so much of me, I got my Garmin for a Christmas present about three years ago I think and I LOVE it because I too have no sense of direction, and have horror stories about getting lost and panicking before I got my sat nav. I have a funny sat nav story actually, I posted it on my blog once but that was before you followed me, so you won’t have heard it! Hang on, I’m going to find it so I can copy and paste, be right back……… it is (note how I gave the GPS/Sat Nav translation like you did!) –

    A few years ago I was staying with a friend who had just bought a new Sat Nav (or GPS if you’re outside the UK and don’t call it Sat Nav). Just before bedtime, she brought it into the living room to show me how it worked, and then forgot to switch it off. I was sleeping on a large inflatable mattress in the living room that night. Shortly after I settled down, the Sat Nav spoke, “Please turn around” it said. In my half asleep state, I thought it was the mattress talking to me, so I turned around. I assumed it must be a highly sophisticated inflatable mattress which assessed your sleeping position, and suggested a better one. For what seemed like the whole rest of the night, every so often, it would pipe up with “Please turn around”, each time waking me up, and each time making me more and more frustrated. I can’t tell you the range of different sleeping positions I tried that night, whilst muttering with increasing anger “There! Is this better?”

  5. My short attention span and your post just led me to half an hour of old SNL skits on YouTube. Now I need to find my way back to reality. I don’t think there’s a navigational device for that.

  6. Oh the joys of Garmin! One of our favorite things to do when visiting new places is to turn her off and get lost. Just drive wherever the truck takes us. Go down side streets, make unexpected u-turns. Follow signs for local attractions that turn out to have been closed for decades. You find all kinds of wonderful stuff this way. And when we’re tired, we turn on Garmin and have her take us back to the campground – SHE knows the way! (So long as I remembered to program it in before we left!) Congrats on the best Christmas present ever!

  7. inavukic says:

    Happy and wonderful New Year, Ruta!

  8. I still use maps that you buy at the gas station. I don’t have to punch anything up, and I can write on it if directions are different now.

    BUT, Happy New Year!

  9. Karen says:

    Oh man, you and Matthew are exactly alike. I’m one of those people with a compass in my bones and I admit to being frustrated by his directionlessness. This actually helps me understand him a little better!

  10. jlheuer says:

    I also love my GPS but have you driven in Phoenix lately? We were there a few years ago and I don’t think I could hear Amy’s voice ( the GPS) over my screaming. There was like 8 lanes and overhead ramps and everyone driving like madmen!!

  11. Fresh Ginger says:

    I have zero sense of direction as well. Unfortunately, I also have zero sense of trust. (BONUS!) So, that means I just can’t trust the sultry voice of my GPS app on the phone or whatever. I’m a big fan of printed directions, including the map. Otherwise, the adventure usually includes a minimum of 3 u-turns and a good dose of cursing.

  12. Twindaddy says:

    But getting lost can turn into a great adventure!

  13. Brigitte says:

    Ruta, I have always been extremely geographically-challenged and like you, if I go out a doorway, I know if I turn one way, I need to go the other. HA! I love my Garmin as well. When we moved to New York, it allowed me to go places I never would have gone. That little friend will serve you well. 🙂 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  14. plumbagopics says:

    This was so much fun to read. After having that right /left trauma coming back from a Christmas party, I went out and got a Garmin. Everyone kept telling me I didn’t need that if I had my phone but that is not true!

  15. Carrie Rubin says:

    GPS is wonderful, isn’t it? I sometimes still print out directions, but more and more I rely on GPS, whether the one in my car (which isn’t a great one) or Google maps (but I need someone to read the latter–don’t want to get in an accident!)

    Happy New Year, Ruta!

  16. Denise, I had this same experience with my phone. When I was is Orange County I relied on Siri completely and she totally came through for me. It was very reassuring and gave me that peaceful feeling. Congrats on your new adventures in discovering new places. Have fun!

  17. GPS devices can be useful. I use the one in my phone a bit. Usually when going someplace new. I use to drive across the country during summers, in college. I would have to use printed directions and maps a lot. Those were some of the best trips.

  18. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Great post, Denise! My sister’s GPS calls all streets “Saint.” So it says, turn left on Spring Saint,” or something like that. Hilarious. Happy New Year!

    • That’s hilarious that ours does the opposite. We get the giggles listening to “michelle” speak. What I would love is to get to choose a person’s voice (like, um David Bowie! or a lovely male Russian) and have them speak to me… but that could be distracting…

      Thanks for reading, Cathy! Happy New Year!!

  19. El Guapo says:

    Just make sure you keep it charged and that the car charger works!!!
    I’ve been known, to my wife’s amusement, to get into yelling matches with my gps. Now I just mute the damn thing and look at it when I need to.

    I never had a problem pre gps with long trips. Except for the last 5 miles. For the first 100+, I was fine. It was just that last length that got me lost.

    • Guap – I have trouble in my own CITY – for places I go normally, I’m good – but if i get turned around, I can completely get disoriented and luckily we have some mountains that help.

      So far, it’s working like a dream in my car with the car charger 🙂

      We laugh at our GPS voice b/c she mangles the street names (we have a lot of Spanish in our street names). The best was for St. Mary’s – which she called ‘Street Mary’s” .

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