Navigation to Hell - via Baltimore
On my recent trip down South, I traveled with friends of mine who have an 11 month old baby. I can't say "getting there was half the fun". On the contrary, there were moments when I was sure my sanity was being tested. Not because the baby had to stop every 50 miles for a diaper change. Not because the baby was growing irritable with the long drive. Actually, I think the baby handled the trip better than I did - at least on the way down. My friends just bought a new Lexus SUV so I dutifully agreed to follow them in my car - what with their handy-dandy navigation system and all. I had also printed out Mapquest directions, just for good measure. Not that Mapquest is infallible. Lord knows I've been sent, by Mapquest, the wrong way down a one-way street. But this was an easy trip - all we had to do was take Rt 83 to Baltimore and then take 95 the rest of the way to North Carolina, right? I mean, how hard could it be? Ahem......I had to ask. Left at the mercy of the Lexus navigation system, a 9 hour trip turned into a 14 1/2 hour trip and that was just the beginning. Taking us off the beaten path and onto rural roads where the speed limit was 35 and the wildlife created an obstacle course for travelers was the last thing I was expecting from a vehicle that cost more than my first home . Oh, there were several discussions over the walkie-talkies, my technological contribution to the trip, (which worked better than the navigation system) during which I tried to be patient, gently reminding my fellow travelers that this trip was taking a lot longer than it should have. Yes, I realize that the navigation system in an automobile is just a machine. The "machine" is not at fault. That's not my rant - not even a little. My rant is about the people who think there really is a lady living in their dashboard who knows the best way to get anywhere in America. My rant is about people who have traveled South on several occasions and know that you never, ever, ever get off the "loop" around Baltimore or Washington and try to take some other route. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway, for example, is a 4 lane (two in each direction) highway. The "loops" are anywhere from 4-6 lanes (in each direction) depending on where you are. If you have a brain in your head, opposable thumbs and your blood is red, you can look at a map and see which way is going to be the shortest distance (or the fastest commute) between two points. It should also be obvious that any trip past the Capital should not land you ON Pennsylvania Avenue...not even close.Evidently, the lady who lives in the dashboard mystically takes over the reasonable thoughts of drivers and passengers, rendering them totally senseless and ridiculously defensive of the lady in the dashboard. On the occasions I foolishly suggested that perhaps we should pull over and have a look at a map, the response was always, "We don't need to. The navigation system says we're headed in the right direction." "...must follow lady in dash.....must not disobey..." I had two highly intelligent professionals in the car ahead of me - one an attorney, the other a doctor. Both had been brainwashed and rendered virtually defenseless to the powers of the lady in the dashboard. So, here's my take...
Not only does the lady in the dashboard suck the common sense right out of any head within ear-shot of her annoying voice, the lady living in the dashboard is on crack. People who think all their troubles have disappeared because they have a navigation system are also potentially on crack. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING takes the place of a good old fashioned map - whether you know how to re-fold it or not - and the common sense of a driver who knows how to read one (I'm amazed at how many people don't know how to read a map).I'm beginning to wonder if these systems are the design of disgruntled Democrats trying to turn normal people into lemmings. Think about it...If Al Gore invented the Internet (stop laughing), perhaps that genius mind of his devised a plan to turn the normal people into lambs, lining up for the slaughter. Of course it doesn't matter whether it works on Democrats or not, they're already mindless followers... So, here's the PI Mom recommendation...
If you're a Republican - STEP. AWAY. FROM. THE. NAVIGATION. SYSTEM .
Soon enough, the little lemmings will march off the face of the earth...and they'll get there by taking the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
The Liberal who (tried to) ruin my vacation.
I love being in the South. There's something about the South that makes me relax five minutes after I arrive. Maybe it's the Southern hospitality. Maybe it's the warm summer air. Maybe it's the "git er done" bumper stickers. Or maybe it's just the fact that I know I'm surrounded by more conservatives than not. At any rate, I just returned from 7 beautiful days in North Carolina, where I spent most of my time laying on a beach, listening to music and catching up on my reading. Even the long drive home wasn't so bad after having been so relaxed.
All that relaxation, however, didn't shield me from finding something to rant about. I promised a rant or two when I returned and trust me, there was plenty to pick up on that would make any reasonable American's blood boil. I just managed to fight the urge (and it wasn't much of a fight) to let loose on anyone, thanks to the nature of my visit.
On the second day of my vacation, I sprawled out next to the pool with my headphones, a good book (Ann Coulter's "Godless" - if you haven't read it yet - what are you waiting for??) and some sunglasses. I set my book down for a while to relax in the sun and listen to some music. It was just me and Aretha hanging out in the warm sun. I was so relaxed, in fact, that my favorite phrase at the pool/beach, "just because they make it in your size, honey, does not mean you should wear it" never even crossed my mind (for the record, I've never said that out loud to anyone, but I think it a LOT). Indeed, I was relaxed enough to concede that perhaps fat bottom girls (myself included) really do make the world go round.
And then it happened.
My eyes were closed. Aretha and I were taking a midnight train to Georgia. All was right with the world. I sensed someone standing in "my sun". I opened one eye to see a man in his early to mid 40's, standing over me. No big deal if he were just taking a seat at the pool, but he appeared to be talking...to me. I should have known right then and there that he was a liberal because his mouth was moving but I couldn't hear a thing. I took one earphone off and said, "Pardon me?"
The conversation took shape like this...
MSIMS (Moron standing in my sun): Is that your book? (referring to "Godless")
MSIMS: How do you like it?
PIMom: It's very good.
MSIMS: You look like a fairly intelligent person...
*NOTE* I've come to learn that whenever a liberal starts a sentence with, "you look like a fairly intelligent person", they're about to insult you.
MSIMS: "...don't tell me you believe all that right-wing propaganda".
PIMom: Have you read it?
PIMom: Then how do you know it's propaganda?
MSIMS: Because it's in all her books.
PIMom: Oh? What other books of hers have you read?
MSIMS: I haven't read any of them, but I've seen her on television talking about her books. Someone ought to take her out.
PIMom: On a date?
MSIMS: No....like.....a sniper, you know?
PIMom: The only thing I know right now is that you are blocking my sun.
At that, I put my headphones back on and rolled over. I could tell he was still talking to me from the "wah..wah...wah" like the sound of Charlie Brown's teacher that was barely audible above Aretha. It's a good thing I was relaxing.
The next day I was laying on a chez on the beach, soaking up the sun with reckless abandon to the SPF factor while reading "Godless". Again, I noticed a sudden change in "my sun" and looked up to find...you guessed it..."Mr. Moron Standing In My Sun". I resisted the urge to say, "what do you want??" (proof positive that I was relaxed) I stared at him blankly, waiting for him to state his business. He stood and stared just as blankly for a moment or two and then said, "I didn't mean to offend you yesterday". I told him, "no worries" and looked back at my book. I couldn't help but notice, though, that at least 30 seconds had gone by and he hadn't moved. I could also tell, without looking up, that he was still looking at me. Finally, I sighed audibly, put my bookmark in the page, set the book down and glared at him asking, "is there something I can do to help you stop blocking the sun?" MSIMS responded, "No, not really. It's just that...(points at my book)what is it about you conservatives thinking you can say anything you want and get away with it?"
"You Conservatives". The gloves were off. This guy clearly wanted to debate someone and he wasn't going to quit until he got a chance to, so I responded, "What is it about you liberals thinking the First Amendment only applies to you being allowed to burn our flag?" Evidently being grouped into "you liberals" didn't phase him. He responded, "Nobody burns flags. That's a myth. You don't believe that, do you?" I just stared. It was obvious that he couldn't read, but did this man have a television set? This could be harder than I thought. I wasn't just debating with a liberal idiot. I was debating with a mentally retarded, liberal idiot. The rest of the conversation went a little something like this...
MSIMS: You DO believe it, don't you? Man, you're lame!
PIMom: Have you ever laid eyes on a newspaper in the last century?
MSIMS: I don't read newspapers. They're all right-wing biased.
PIMom: ***hysterical laughter*** ***trying to speak*** ***more hysterical laughter***
MSIMS: What??? Oh, I guess you WOULD think the media is liberal. You probably think Bill Clinton should have been impeached and that Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War.
PIMom: Ummmm....Bill Clinton WAS impeached and Ronald Reagan DID end the Cold War. **was this guy really that stupid or was he baiting me?**
MSIMS: If you think Ronald Reagan was responsible for freeing all those Jews from Nazi concentration camps, you really are dillusional. Conservatives will believe anything.
PIMom: I'm sorry, what did you just say?
MSIMS: That Conservatives will believe anything.
PIMom: No, before that - about Reagan and the Nazis.
MSIMS: I said that Reagan didn't stop Hitler. A lot of other presidents were responsible for that - not Reagan.
not. making. this. up.
PIMom: ***After several seconds of staring at the man and resisting the urge to laugh*** You know, you're right. As great a man as he was, I don't think he took any breaks from making movies to take down Hitler".
MSIMS: I think you're confused. He didn't make any movies when he was a president.
PIMom: Yes, I'm probably the one who is confused. But just in case it's YOU who is confused, you can probably buy a 4th grade history book down the road at Books A Million. If you can't find one - you might pick up Ann Coulter's book, "Treason". It's a pretty good breakdown of what was going on in this country during World War II.
MSIMS: I wouldn't take one if they were giving them away.
PIMom: Ok, so how about this...how about you get out of my sun and leave me alone so I don't have to exercise my First Amendment right to scream like a Banshee until the lifeguard comes and orders the bad man with the ugly swim trunks off the beach. How about that?
MSIMS: God!! (storming away)
And I think I heard him say, as he strode out of sight..."You just can't talk to those people. They're crazy!"
A few days later I overheard him telling someone at the pool that he lives in New Orleans.
$5 says he voted for Nagin.
I'm a loser magnet. I really am.
...more to come.