"When possible, make a legal U-turn," crooned the mellow female voice from the Magellan global positioning system we had given my dad last Father's Day.
"Well what does the map say?" my dad asked my mom for the umpteenth time. We, my mom, dad and I, were on our way to Sonora to visit my aunt and my dad got this crazy idea in his head that it would be better to take a more rural route than to fight the week-end traffic on I-5.
"Well I can't read this stupid map!
That's why we got you the GPS system!" snapped my mom as she tried bringing the map closer to her face with reading glasses on, moving it farther away with regular glasses on, moving the map up, down, this way and that in an attempt to
find better light; all to no avail.
I was in the backseat pretending to sleep.
"Well just show me where we are on the stupid map!" said my dad, still trying, after almost 49 years of marriage, to get my mom to read the road map.
"I TOLD you I can't READ the STUPID MAP!!!" said my mom through gritted teeth.
|"I TOLD you I can't READ the STUPID MAP!!!" said my mom through gritted teeth.|
"When possible, make a legal U-turn," chirped GPS "Gina" (as we dubbed her). My mom looked like she was very close to an implosion.
"Okay, then see if you can get our location up on the GPS screen," said my dad.
A touch of a few buttons and another entry of Aunt Marilyn's address later GPS Gina showed us that we were somewhere between Russia and Greenland. "Oh for gosh sakes (my dad's form of expletive); let me see the map."
It seemed like everything around me was fuming – the car as it idled, my dad as he talked to himself and traced a few lines on the map with his finger, and my mom as she tried to get "Gina" to stop pleading with us to make a legal U-turn.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you that it's not healthy to fight in front of the children?" I couldn't help needling the parentals.
"Oh, your mother wears army boots," retorted my dad. He says this to me a lot and I've never really understood what the heck he means by it. Why does he make it sound like some sort of put down? After all I have no control over the footwear my mother chooses, and whether she chooses to put on army boots or Jimmy Choo's, her selection in no way reflects my intelligence level or sense of style. Besides, he's really dissing his own wife, which is not a wise move at this point in time.
After a few more minutes of shuffling the map around and talking to himself, Dad seemed to get his bearings. "Okay, I think I know where we are," he announced as he pulled back on to the street.
"Well that's just fine, but the interstate is right back there," said Mom who had spotted I-5 as Dad was fiddling with the map. Gina had been right all along – we needed to make a legal U-turn.
It was interesting experiencing a car trip with my parents as a grown up, not to mention entertaining. The bickering about which direction to take, whether or not to use a road map, whose fault is was when we got lost – it was comforting in a way – made me feel like a kid in the backseat of a huge station wagon again. I got to step out of my role as "Mommy" and back into my role as "child" for a few days and that's nice to do every once in a while. I was thinking this as we merged onto I-5, back on track and ready to make good time.
"I gotta go potty," I announced just as Dad set the cruise control at 58 MPH. Boy, it was sure fun to be a kid again!