Monday, May 31, 2010

Family of Hand-Held Devices

So I spent time tootling around San Diego with the family last week. All of us visiting, none living in San Diego. So we needed travel aids to find our way around. That is how I happened to find myself shoe-horned into the back seat of a rental car, between Yael and Sudi, with Brian driving and Ron attempting to exercise paternal prerogative by navigating, but failing to establish authority in this regard. Everyone in the car had a hand-held device except for me. Ron was on his beloved Tom-Tom (we have Tom-Tom v. Mapquest wars, he and I—him with his visual though somewhat impishly unreliable Tom-Tom and I with my trusty though word-based Mapquest). I think they should make a Tom-Tom voice for Black folks that says things like “Dang, you done turned the wrong way, Fool.” Or maybe a Jewish voice like “Go ahead, turn that way, don’t listen to your mother, you’ll see what happens.” But I digress.

Ron had his Tom-Tom. Brian had his cell phone (not sure what kind) tuned in to Google Maps. Yael had her Blackberry navigation system turned on. And Sudi was getting directions off his iPhone via internet. Ron’s Tom-Tom would squawk and he’d pronounce a direction. Sudi would call out a street name. Yael would read from the Blackberry. And Brian, being as stubborn as he is, would turn in the opposite direction of every command as he followed his Google Map. It’s a wonder we ever made it to Cox Arena for Akili’s graduation at all. And yes, Brian was driving and reading Google Maps off his phone at the same time, while being bombarded with conflicting commands by everyone else in the car.

I felt so out of the loop because I did not have a hand-held device. (Well, I had one, but it was turned off.) I was more concerned about my hair, which was rapidly turning into a seagull’s nest because all the windows were rolled down. I begged Sudi to close his window. “I don’t want my hair to look like I did it with an eggbeater by the time we get to the graduation,” I explained. “Your hair always looks like you did it with an eggbeater,” he reassured me as he rolled the window up and continued to shout out street names, only to be ignored yet again by his big brother.

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