Some of you may have already guessed from the title of this post that I just returned from a long car trip, and used a GPS unit to navigate. Every time I deviated from the official directions, the clipped British voice that was instructing me when and where to turn to reach my pre-programmed destination would utter “Recalcucating!” in a stentorian and somewhat aggrieved tone of voice, even when I simply pulled into a rest area to go to the bathroom.
There are other voice options, but none of them speak Southern. Given that a third of the U.S. population resides in a Southern state I find this surprising. I’d much rather have a GPS unit that said things like: “I see you are fixing to pull into this here rest area. Good idea, y’all! After you freshen up, stretch your legs and get some sweet tea or a nice cherry coke out’ the machine.” Does it sound like I am being sarcastic and making fun of the South? Because while I suppose I am a little, I really do think that is living in such a polite and friendly culture that makes me feel like my GPS unit is being rude when it chastens me for deviating from its fascist but admittedly uncannily accurate and efficient travel optimizing plans.
I went to three different family functions, two in homes without any Internet access at all and one with really, really slow dial up in a part of the country where there isn’t any cable or DSL. Apologies about the slowness with which comments cleared moderation in consequence.
Finally, I have one family member going through some serious health issues. She turns 40 next summer and we’re all planning the greatest birthday party ever for her. There will be scores of people of all ages in attendance, so at least part of it will need to transpire outdoors. We’re trying to get way out in front of things because that helps us stay focused in a positive way. Feel free to leave any cool ideas in the comments or e-mail them to me (and let me know if it is okay to post them with credit): food, activities, gifts, favors, invitations, whatever. Thanks!