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On the road with ‘Edna,’ my mostly reliable car companion

Edna and I have been hanging around together for a long time. This in itself is a wonder because when you come right down to it, we are not the least bit suited to each other. In fact, lately she’s beginning to get on my nerves.

For one thing, Edna’s manners are not the greatest. Sometimes when my mind is busy thinking of something else she will burst in on the scene like a 2-ton truck with some tidbit of information that I may or may not want to hear. And her voice? Let’s just say it is not very pleasant to listen to since she seems to have just one volume — loud. Although Edna was named after the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, I will bet the original Edna’s manners were nothing like this.

Whenever we take trips together, I always do the driving because, due to her size, Edna has trouble reaching the gas pedal. Seeing over the dashboard isn’t easy for her either. These shortcomings don’t stop her from telling me where to go, however, and most of the time I don’t seem to mind. She may be short on manners, but her sense of direction? Almost perfect. Edna, you see is not a real person, but a GPS. She is the Global Positioning System that gets me where I need to go almost every time and with little or no worry.

A few years ago I decided it was time for me to quit fretting about finding unfamiliar destinations and sometimes losing my way. Sure, I could drive to Manchester just fine, but maneuvering myself out of there via their one-way streets was another matter. And on longer trips, I would start worrying about the next exit as soon as I’d left the last one — no matter how far away it was. Now with Edna, I don’t have these worries.

I especially like the “home” feature Edna has. No matter where I am, I just touch “home” and she gets me there — or almost there. When I was about to program in my address, a friend told me never to use my actual address because if someone stole my GPS, they would find where I lived, and just might rob the place. Though skeptical about the logic in this, I decided to do what she does — instead of my street address, I entered the address of the local police station. I’d like to see some gangsters try to rob that place.

It took a while to get used to riding with Edna but I have to admit she knows her routes. Our relationship got tested to the limit the other day, however. I was scheduled to give a talk in the town of Pelham, and knew I would be taking Route 93 South to Exit 3, but from that point on, I had no clue how to get there. Not to worry though, I had Edna.

We started out fine, with her telling me to turn here and there, but when we got to Exit 3 something strange happened. Edna was uncharacteristically silent — not a word out of her, but I, knew I should take Exit 3, so I did. When I got to the end of the exit ramp, Edna suddenly came back to life and gave me an earful, screaming her annoying “recalculating, recalculating!” She was furious at me for taking Exit 3 without her telling me to. To punish, me she began leading me in odd directions, including going back and forth on Route 93 again. It was a nightmare. When I finally pulled in at my destination, I had just minutes to spare before the event began. Ironically, I was scheduled to do a humorous talk, but thanks to Edna I didn’t feel too humorous by the time I got there.

It turned out that the mixup was not Edna’s fault. I learned that Exit 3 got moved a bit north a while back, and they forgot to tell Edna. Perhaps for her next birthday I will give her an updated map system, to make both our lives happier.

Now Edna says she has just one remaining item on her complaint list. She is not one bit happy that I designated the police station as her home address. She says it makes her feel like a criminal. I may have to give in to her on that one because I’ve learned that hell hath no fury like a GPS scorned. Especially if her name is Edna.

Joann Snow Duncanson, a former Peterborough resident now living in Greenland, is the author of “Who Gets the Yellow Bananas?,” co-author of “Breakfast in the Bathtub” and author of her latest book, “Eight Crayons - Poems and Stories by an Almost Sane Woman.” Reach her at www.jsnowduncanson. com or email ourbooks@worldpath.net.

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