Sunday, 1 August 2010

Drive To Succeed

Despite my gender, I'm good at navigation. My father taught me to read and use maps when I was very young, and I soon became the family navigator. I don't think it ever occurred to him that I might not be able to navigate, so I guess he transmitted that confidence to me. Thanks, Dad!

Despite his gender, my Paramour is a bit rubbish at navigation. Not completely hopeless, but inclined to make mistakes, and his sense of direction isn't great. He had no ego problems about handing over the task to me, and early in our relationship he dubbed me his 'demon navigatrix'.

When sat navs became commonplace, neither of us was particularly bothered about getting one. My smug view was that they were for people who couldn't find their toilet without a 'sat lav', and his smug view was that he didn't need one because he'd got me. A little while ago, when I was stuck on the sofa for a few months with health problems, he kept getting lost and decided to order a sat nav - but the company he chose to order from couldn't find our house to deliver the sat nav (yes, really!) so he gave that up as a bad job.

A couple of months ago my Paramour decided he had to get a sat nav for work reasons (not to find his way to places - some techie thing to do with one of his clients and some software, and that's all I know). This coincided with our trip to France, so we decided to get one which included the French road system. I was very dubious about the idea of surrendering control to a machine, but the sat nav quickly proved useful in helping tired people negotiate French town centres at the end of a long day's driving.

We tried various voices and decided the Irish man had the most soothing tones. He's very deadpan and repeats himself a lot, so our sat nav is now called Dougal, after the character in Father Ted. My relationship with Dougal is developing differently from my Paramour's. I'm happy to let Dougal help, but I don't entirely trust him - quite often I know better than he does, like when I can see the roundabout in front of me that he doesn't think exists - and I won't use a route he suggests without cross-checking its sensibleness with a map, some real-time traffic information, and my own knowledge of road systems. So when Dougal suggested going from the Midlands to south-east London via Camden and the West End of London, he was immediately over-ruled, because I know from experience that the M25 and the Blackwall Tunnel is a much quicker route.

My Paramour, on the other hand, is happy to let Dougal decide his route. But I discovered yesterday that he has his own point of resistance. We were travelling together, chatting, with Dougal making pronouncements in the background. At one point Dougal said 'keep in the left-hand lane.' My Paramour was driving in the right-hand lane. I looked at the road sign we were passing, and saw that if he didn't change lanes we'd end up going the wrong way.

'Sweetheart,' I said, 'Dougal says you need to be in the left-hand lane.'

My Paramour continued to drive in the right-hand lane.

'He was very firm about it,' I said.

'That's the trouble,' my Paramour said. 'When Dougal gets firm about things, it makes me feel rebellious.'

On that basis, I don't think having a sat nav is going to help him much.


Debs said...

The only time my husband and I have used sat nav (don't need it here, the island is too small) it was in italian, so not much use to us.

I love that your paramour rebelled against it.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Haha, I so hate being told how to do things and am so sure that I am always right... I would be hopeless with a sat nav. Plus I won't get oen for the very simple reason that a gadget freak I know keeps insisting I am some kind of socially deficient person because I don't own one, and clearly sees it as a status symbol... and there's nothing more likely to make me want to rebel.

And anyway I'm a good navigator. And I love maps. Maps are ace. Long live maps!

Sue Guiney said...

What a riot! My problem with my satnav is that I never believe it. I'm always double guessing it, and I have a notoriously bad sense of direction!

HelenMHunt said...

As you know I'm extremely good at navigation - cough, cough. However, I would *love* someone to tell me what lane I need to be in so should probably get Sat Nav just for that.

Miss Footloose said...

The Rebellious Paramour and the Sexy Satnav. Here's a title for you!

Our house is not to be found by Satnav. There's a road on the map that does not exist and drivers end up at a dead-end road with 7 huge ferocious dogs barking at them.

Fortunately cell phones work.
We hear the dogs bark and know where the lost souls are. We then guide them with mere primitive words to find our house (sans dog).

Leigh Russell said...

My husband likes to set the sat nav to a female voice and then ignore all the instructions... recalculating... recalculating...
I'm afraid we are rather stereotypical of our genders. He can find places by following his nose.
As for me, I got lost in the toilets at one airport while on an Airside Booksigning Tour last summer. Every door I tried seemed to be a toilet or a cupboard. In the end, I waited until someone else was leaving and followed her. The exit door was round a corner, and far too difficult for me to find!

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you for your kind comment on Helen Hunt's blog. ROAD CLOSED is now published.

Pat said...

Queenie must be SAT Nav's worst nightmare:) Everyone should have a Queenie in the car.
BTW if you haven't already read Leigh's books I can recommend them and I now enjoy psychological thrillers.

SpiralSkies said...

I am soooooo not even going to comment on this. I am in awe of you. And I love Scotland. That is all.

Queenie said...

Debs, our one does France in English, thank goodness.

Sue, maybe you should write about that sometime, it sounds like a good, er, vehicle for comedy.

Helen, I think you might find it useful, although you're nowhere near as bad at navigation as you think you are.

MF, that's a great title!

Leigh, how funny! And I know, because I've got a copy on my TBR pile, although there are a couple of Robert B Parker novels ahead of it and I can't resist him at all, he's my favourite crime writer.

Pat, you know me so well ;-)

Spiral, what's Scotland got to do with anything? That's an even more surreal comment than usual!

Karen said...

So funny :o) I'm HOPELESS at navigation, and don't even trust the sat nav. Or rather I don't trust myself to trust the sat nav!