Get lost.

She’s not always right, but she never admits it. She repeats herself, assured of her superiority and my blind submission. If I don’t follow, she stops talking to me.

“You seem to know it all,” her silence communicates loud and clear. “I’ll just sit here and recalculate while you get lost.”

She’s the self-important sounding female voice of my GPS system. I call her Vivian when I’m not muttering b**** under my breath, as if she could hear me. If Vivian could, she would just give me the silent treatment. She’s like that.

“In point one miles, turn left onto North Street,” she’ll announce, oblivious to the neon traffic cones and crossing guard that signal the street’s closure during school hours.

“No way, Viv. The dismissal bell just rang.”

“Turn left onto North Street,” she repeats.

“Not unless I want a grade-schooler hood ornament.”

“Turn left,” Vivian insists as I drive past North Street. She’ll pause before announcing, “Recalculating.”

“Yeah, you do that.”

I don’t need her. Except when I’m lost. That’s when Vivian withholds information. I know those satellites store more than navigational direction: they also record every time I ignore her. Don’t tell me the GPS is just an electronic device: it’s got a woman’s voice and satellite-stored grudges, so she stops talking when she’s pissed.

“Recalculating,” she responds cooly at the precise moment I need to know whether to exit a highway. The screen displays “Acquiring satellites” as Vivian remains silent.

B****, I think, convinced she’s thinking the same thing.

I know it’s Vivian’s way of getting back at me for ignoring her and trying to find my own way. Yes, I am that stubborn: I’m a grown, rational woman and will not have my GPS tell me what to do. I certainly won’t select the male voice on the GPS unless I want bad directions.

I’m stuck in my love/hate relationship with Vivian, and I know where it will get me. I have envisioned the scenario multiple times: Vivian will recalculate vengefully while I drive lost in a suburban tangle of meandering courts, drives, places, roads, and circles. I’ll slowly pass the same rows of identical houses a half dozen times and worried occupants will call the police. They’ll arrive with sirens blaring and lights flashing, and identify me by the description announced over their radios: red truck, driving slowly, possibly casing the neighborhood, occupied by a small Puerto Rican woman, visibly agitated and yelling obscenities. Possibly dangerous. Approach with caution.


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