Recently I had to give a talk at a library, because that is the kind of thing I do these days. I very much enjoy giving talks at libraries, especially at libraries that give me large boxes of chocolates as a thank you, which I then tend to eat in the car on the way home so as not to have to share them with my family.But I digress.
This particular library was in a suburb that my late grandmother would have referred to as Yahoopitz, which I assume is Yiddish for ‘far away’, but may actually have been a real suburb of Russia.The point is, the library was a long way away from home. To make matters worse, my car’s built in Sat Nav system had broken, after a mysterious episode involving a professional car wash and what was, presumably, a very wet sponge. The matter is currently in the hands of my insurers, but yet again, I digress.
|This woman is not me, but conveys a certain Essence of Me|
I stopped at my mum’s place (I do know how to get to my mum’s, as long as I don’t try to take a fancy route), borrowed her Tom Tom, and began driving. After a few anguished moments during which I couldn’t get the stupid thing connected to the power cord, I managed to turn it on and program it successfully.The Tom Tom was loud and rather less polite than my Sat Nav, doing away with ‘Please’ altogether, but using some endearing colloquialisms like ‘at the end of the road’, which my Sat Nav would not have understood at all. Things were going along swimmingly, until we came to a very long freeway, and suddenly, Tom Tom stopped talking to me altogether.
I was lost, and frightened. What could I do? I was in the middle of Woop Woop (the Aussie equivalent of Yahoopitz) and was due at the library in thirty minutes, where dozens of adoring fans (or a couple of dozen of library patrons with nothing else to do) waited. And I had no idea where I was.
So I did the only logical thing. I called my mum.“The Tom Tom has stopped talking!” I cried over the phone.
“Oh dear,” she said. “That’s no good.”“Well, what am I supposed to do?”
My mum paused for a moment. “Um... what am I supposed to do?” she asked. “I’m at home watching TV!”“TELL ME HOW TO FIX IT!” I shouted.
I could have sworn I heard her laughing. “I don’t know how to fix it,” she said, with a glint in her voice (I know glints are generally for the eyes, but I really could hear it).“THANKS,” I said.
“Well, don’t you have a street dir..” she said, but I was throwing the phone across the car.I cried. I hit the Tom Tom. I cursed. I slapped the steering wheel. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a voice boomed out in my car (okay, it wasn’t out of nowhere, it was actually out of the Tom Tom).
“In 800 metres, turn right.”The Tom Tom was speaking! It had never stopped! Apparently, it just hadn’t had anything to say in a while. We’d been on a straight road.
So I made the talk, and only ten minutes (or so) late, with great thanks to the Tom Tom.But no thanks at all to my mum.