Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Electro Girl

#362 Electro Girl

Oh, how politically incorrect. Girl, indeed. Electro Woman, though, just doesn't have the same ring.

Electro Girl is my automobile's (and sometimes my) companion. She's worthy company.

Works full time, doesn't have much to say -- but what she DOES say is important. Runs on batteries. Rechargeable batteries.

Electro Girl lives in a small plastic house, and that full time job? It's giving directions.

Electro Girl is the voice of one of those wonderful global positioning system receivers. Maps, destinations, points of interest. Gas stations, motels. She knows all about all that stuff.

Switch her on, and she makes you promise you won't fool around with her while you're driving. No 1950s seat snuggler, this lady. She makes you promise in advance to keep your hands to yourself and your eyes on the road.

Once, on, she starts speaking to you in a sweet but somehow sultry voice "awaiting satellite signal."

You let her know where you want to go and she gets you there.

Electro Girl doesn't see so well, though. She thinks home is in the woods. It once was. But since she got her brain and voice, they've built all these houses.

She tells you "go to the nearest road." I'm ON a road, but not one she recognizes. About a block away, she gets the picture.

"In 500 feet, turn right."

Do you have any idea how to measure five hundred feet while driving and resisting the overwhelming desire to touch her touch screen?

No matter. When you get to the turn, Electro rings a little bell. The bell is musical. But it seems to be saying "here's the turn, imbecile. Don't miss it."

She's far too polite to say it out loud in any of the three languages she speaks: English, Spanish and French.

Should you overshoot the turn, she'll politely tell you "when possible, make a U-turn."

Very considerate.

I can't keep my eyes off her. This is not an asset when driving in traffic. And I must confess, I have occasionally broken my promise not to touch her while the car is in motion. Sweet temptation, go away.

"Travel straight for two-point-two miles."

That you can measure.

"In 800 feet, destination on your left."

If you can't judge 500 feet, you can't judge 800 feet.

"Battery low. Please recharge."


The one thing she can' seem to keep straight is the time.

She can tell the time in a dozen regular zones, plus Arizona, Hawaii where they don't do daylight time, and Indiana where the Central Time Zone border cuts through part of the state.

The minutes are always correct. But the hours must be on some kind of a time zone roulette wheel, because they're always wrong and never by the same number.

Now, about that list of highlights. Need a McDonald's or a Shell station, she's got a list. Need a motel? She knows that, too. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of a life she led before she and the car became friends.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2008

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