Sat navs are fecking ace

I was just about to leave a comment on Grandad’s post – but remembered I wanted to have a good old rant about my special relationship with sat navs and the bad press my little babies receive. I love Sat Navs – but to a lot of people they’re the “mobile phone” of the noughties. Remember when yuppies got mobile phones and you wouldn’t be seen dead with one? No way. I’m never ever getting a mobile phone. Yuppie twats. I haven’t seen a more reviled piece of technology since the glorious days of yuppie bashing. Every last one of us eventually gave in, and now as we slowly lifted our heads from the shame of mobile phonery, the first device to catch our spiteful eye is The Sat Nav – but lo, not only does it glisten, it speaks! Its fractured vocabulary commanding us to go forth and turn left. Surely the work of Beelzebub.

My introduction to Sat Navs was a few years ago in a taxi leaving Madrid airport. I remember it fondly. I sat in the back ignoring the sandy landscape for the whole journey, transfixed by the box of direction. Yet I considered it a luxury and placed it at the back of my mind, until riches came my way. Then one Christmas, I unravelled a shiny parcel from my generous sister-in-law and found probably the best present I’ve got since Big Trak introduced me to the concept of tears of joy.

You see not only is it a great gadget but I very much consider it a disability aid. I really have such an amazingly terrible sense of direction that I am literally lost without it. I can now go places I’ve never been before! I swear I have such a disabled sense of direction that I could turn a corner and completely lose track of what direction I’m facing. And spoken directions go in one ear and out the udder. I could easily set off for Belfast and end up admiring the Cliffs of Mohr. And that’s after spending 17 hours trying to get out of the one way system. And I am completely at a loss as to how people drive in alien countries without Sat Navs. Without my trusty companion, I definitely would have been ended up crawling around the Nevada dessert, licking vulture skulls.

Ok I can follow a map – but not while I’m driving. Neither can I turn a page of a map book while driving. And at its most basic, that’s all a Sat Nav is; a map with continually turning pages. A map that attaches to your window instead of flapping all over the place and falling from the passenger seat to the floor. Denying these small leaps of innovation is futile technophobia that also smacks of I’m alright Jack, while hundreds of us suffer the interminable agony of this crippling disability, ahem.

  • Reply zee

    April 10, 2008, 2:09 pm

    Ace. I’m definitely buying one of these for Himself. I don’t drive and he does, which leaves me as default navigator whenever we have to leave the 10 mile radius with which we’re familiar. And map or not, I haven’t a flying frog. I wonder will it be an obvious “Homer Bowling Ball” sort of a present??

  • Reply Grandad

    April 10, 2008, 2:57 pm

    Why not just memorise the journey off a map before leaving?

  • Reply John Braine

    April 10, 2008, 3:11 pm

    Zee just get one that speaks in the voice of a “20th century robot boy” and it’ll surely be J’s.

    Grandad that’s a great idea. Except my memory of place names is worse than my sense of direction! Not joking. See Persistance of memory if you can be arsed.

  • Reply Maria

    April 10, 2008, 5:53 pm

    Actually, we DID revile mobile phones as being “yuppie toys” but the main reason we didn’t have one in the 1980s and the main reason we slagged them was because we couldn’t afford them.

    I’m pretty rare, but I STILL don’t have a mobie.

    Aren’t I just completely bloody wonderful?

  • Reply John Braine

    April 11, 2008, 12:22 pm

    Hi Maria. You’re right but even when the price (and the size!) was greatly reduced, I resisted for a long time, like many people. I suppose the original connotations hung around for a long time.

    Congratulations on the continued resistance 🙂

  • Reply dorothy

    April 15, 2008, 1:46 pm

    We used one on our recent trip to scotland due to my pregnancy related lack of direction and it was a disaster – the signal kept on dropping at crucial points (including on the spaghetti junction in Glasgow) and the maps were just wrong in places. Most stressful gadget ever (which I’m sure is brilliant when it works).

  • Reply John Braine

    April 15, 2008, 11:33 pm

    Suppose its one of those things that are really bad when they’re bad and really good when they’re good.

  • Reply clom

    April 17, 2008, 2:15 pm

    My mammy bought me one for christmas because me and the wife used to bicker with each other about navigation. In that I would have the map and say, “turn left here” and she’d go “are you sure” just as we sailed past the junction. this would result in much muttering and “for f*cks sake”-ing on both sides. My mother took this totally normal (at least for us) if socially awkward behaviour as an indication that we were on the highway to divorce proceedings.

    Now that we have the sat nav we are free to bicker about who’s turn it is to pick the tunes, how sick we are of nancy sinatra/deepchord (delete as applicable) and whose turn it is to pay for petrol.

    Glasgow is the worst city on the planet to try to get out of when you’re not entirely sure where you’re going. On our honeymoon we spent the first 90 minutes of a six hour journey to Skye driving around the West End trying to get onto the Dumbarton Road. Maddeningly we kept driving over a bridge which showed us the correct exit but we just couldn’t manage to work out how to get there.

  • Reply bolshy_spice

    April 18, 2008, 3:22 pm

    LOL, you could have done with a hand-held sat nav last year in Edinburgh when you nearly missed Limmy! 🙂

  • Reply John Braine

    April 19, 2008, 4:51 pm

    Clom. Now that you mention it, we were late for a wedding once. And somewhere taking an exit off a roundabout, the missus said one way and “The lady” as we call her said another. I can’t remember who I went with but it was the wrong choice. Missed the whole ceremony. Not a good day.

    Bolshie. Hah you’re right another fine example of my delightful inner map. I have actually used my sat nav in walk mode. It brought me to a party in stoneybatter at christmas.

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