Through a Glass Darkly: ‘Lavern’ a demanding passenger Through a Glass Darkly: ‘Lavern’ a demanding passenger BY BOB ANDERSON June 20, 2013 Comments Road trips changed when Mary and I picked up a bossy traveler. We’re debating whether to let “U-Turn Lavern” continue to ride with us. Lavern, our GPS navigator, climbed in when Mary bought a new car. I lost faith in Lavern on our trip home after the salesman punched in our home address. I know where we live, but Lavern says it’s 4.2 miles south of our driveway. When we didn’t follow her whim she sounded cross. Even after a night’s sleep, she didn’t drop the issue. “Make a U-turn now,” she demanded when we got back in the car the next morning. From the passenger seat Mary tried to plug in our new destination, but Lavern ignored her and kept ordering us back to where she thinks our house is located. Even when I resorted to rudeness, Lavern continued making snide comments about me making her recalculate our route. Lavern stubbornly refused to take new orders, but in passive-aggressive fashion she wouldn’t tell us why. Finally, we figured out she would only listen if we stopped the car. I suppose that’s a safety feature, though I can’t imagine a driver trying to punch in addresses while in motion. On second thought, I have seen idiots texting while driving, so maybe Lavern is right about that. Still, a simple explanation would have been polite. Her safety concern seemed hypocritical when we realized Lavern was pointing out liquor stores among her points of interest. Maybe that explains her temperament. When we went car shopping, we didn’t intend to add a GPS. That was mainly because of two incidents in which we had ridden with couples who spent most of their driving time arguing over whether to follow their GPS’s verbal instructions or the driver’s intuition. In one case, the couple had dueling systems — one hand-held and one built into the dash. The systems heightened the couple’s dispute by disagreeing on the route. Lavern came standard with Mary’s new car, so it seemed only fair to give U-Turn a few chances to prove herself. When we set off to visit grandchildren in Ft. Myers, Fla., we woke her and gave her the address. She restored a little of my confidence by getting us onto the interstate. However, Lavern got upset whenever we pulled off I-10. Lavern never gets thirsty or needs a restroom. What bothered me most was her useless chatter. I don’t need a backseat driver telling me “prepare to continue straight.” I’d much prefer comments about an unusually shaped cloud or an exceptional sunset, but Lavern is oblivious to beauty. She got cross when we peeled off on a scenic route. Indeed Lavern seems to only see things in black-and-white lines, not in the shades of grey that are really important in navigating life. Go back to sleep, Lavern. We’ll wake you if we get lost. Email Bob Anderson at email@example.com.