Using Global Positioning System to the Doctor.

Almost There

The arrival of the driverless car can’t come quick enough. There are far too many drivers on the road that should never be allowed near any car, let alone inside a car.  I don’t actually like most other drivers. There can be no greater joy than driving past a car parked along the highway with a flashing police car stationed behind it. The police car has special investigation equipment to know the history of the car and its driver.  The driver in the car just has to wait in the knowledge the policeman will soon come out of their car and present a fine, or worse. The best of those cases are when the driver is asked to get out of the car and told he or she is not allowed to continue driving because of a lost license, levels of inebriation, methamphetamine use, unroadworthiness of the vehicle or heaven knows what else.

This happened to us many years ago when living in Holland. I was a hippy had a perm done, smoked bongs. Helvi did tie-dying and wore long skirts. Both of us listened to Carly Simon and were ardent admirer’s of the late Trotsky without knowing much about it. We converted a Kombi van in which we took trips to Paris. It eventually needed new tyres but were suitably lax in buying them in time. The police in Holland are sharp and  pulled me over. They inspected the tyres and without further ado slashed one of them with a special knife. We bought four new tyres very promptly.

The Pro-Office remind calendar told us that last Saturday a yearly appointment with a specialist  doctor was due in Liverpool. I felt confident enough to take the journey without plugging in our Tomtom GPS. We had done the trip several times before.

Liverpool is one of those chaotic cities that are so common in Australia. Residential homes, factories, commercial unidentifiable building all thrown about as if by a demented architect out on revenge. In between many vacant overgrown with weeds are allotments littered by abandoned trolley or empty baby prams. The inevitable yawning car yard appears in between all the chaos. The words ‘special’ or ‘closing down’ are strewn about like confetti at a drunken Russian wedding with the groom sprawled out on top of a plate of borscht. The Norwegian Edvart Munch’s The Scream pops up as well.

This visual assault is something we struggle with whenever or wherever we travel by car. The soothing voice of the GPS commentator a much needed anchor to keep me grounded within borders of acceptable sanity. It soothes me; ” turn right after 400 metres.” Or, “take the next second exit after the round-a-bout.” It is so becalming and reassuring.

However, as noted I had not put on the GPS. In a moment of inattention I had forgotten to take a turn to the left. A disastrous mistake. On Toll-ways, a mistake can have dire consequences. Helvi remained silent. She knows my limited boundaries in the area of remaining calm and collected. There were no signs of left turns anywhere. A buzzer in my car went off indication a toll charge had been collected. We finally managed to get off this Toll way and soon found the road to Liverpool again. Helvi took me to task and bluntly told me not to go anywhere without plugging in the Tomtom. “Why do you have one?”, she asked not unreasonably.  Followed up by; ” why do you have it in the car?”

We still made it in time to the doctor and were out of his surgery within twenty minutes. “No worries,” Helvi smiled.  To get back on harmonious levels, I made a point of sticking on the GPS and clicked on our ‘home’ address. It guided us back seamlessly. The soothing voice taking me into my previous conviviality.  We stopped on the way home in a nice pub and shared a Napoli pizza. Helvi had an Italian Pinot Gris and I had a nice schooner of stout.

It all came good, but only just.


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15 Responses to “Using Global Positioning System to the Doctor.”

  1. Big M Says:

    Eldest son had an altercation with an inattentive driver just yesterday. Unfortunately he came off his motorcycle,, therefore second best. The driver didn’t bother to look, so pulled out in front of him. He is currently in surgery,,trying to save his finger, otherwise he is OK.

    As for gps, ours is like a neglected spouse. “There’s a speed camera ahead…’re going too fast…..there’s a speed camera!” Or, “We are low on fuel, do you want me to locate a petrol station…are you sure….the car is quite low on fuel.”

    At least you were both cheered by pizza and a drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      All the best for your son, Big M. Hope he keeps his finger.

      Pulling up in front is what you get when you keep a safe distance from the car in front. It enrages me, because a lot of accidents happen when cars are driving at high speeds too close to each other.

      Cars with big noisy exhausts are often the main culprits, as are those drivers that hang their arm outside the car window steering with the other hand which probably is also holding their mobile phone so they can text or take selfies.


      • Big M Says:

        I’ve just got home from the hospital. They will keep him a couple more days, then review the wound. In the not so olden days, they would have amputated. The car driver will bye charged. The police were vehement about pursuing her.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Goodness me, a female driver too. Hope the law throws the book at her. Many drivers often think that when the front of the car passes a corner or another car/motorbike, the back of the car will follow in the same trajectory.
        Those sturdy concrete columns at shopping car parks are witness to this fallacy whereby one can see the remnants of car duco being left on the cement as witness to their foolish driving.
        I hope your son gets well soon, Big M.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jennypellett Says:

    Ah, thank you Gerard for helping to start my day with a laugh. Your ‘demented architect ‘ had me clutching my sides while the endearing vision of you and Helvi in your hippy van brought to mind some happy memories of my own.
    As for SatNav – it’s not always right, anyway. Ours took us miles out of our way while travelling in France because it thought we wanted to go to a slightly more populated village than the one we were headed for with the same name….mind you, thinking about it, that’s probably the fault of the French. Being British, we tend to blame them for everything 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the Satnav can get one lost. I remember a case in the UK where a car was driven into a river when the driver followed the instructions a bit too fastidiously.
      When we drove through France the Satnav had not been invented. I remember going around in circles in Paris seemingly unable to find the route towards the Loire Valley. We kept passing the same large bronze statue of a big man on horseback.
      We even stopped to ask direction three times from the same gendarme/policeman. After the third time when we drove off, I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw him shaking his head.


  3. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or be outraged at the policeman slashing your tires, Gerard. I ended up laughing, a lot. As for GPS, I use it, bur never without a map back up. I like the bigger picture. Let’s hear it for driverless cars. I am getting old enough that I am looking forward to them maintaining my mobility! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the police are pretty thorough in Holland, Curt.
      In the past we had a book of maps. They were very popular too. Helvi once tried to help us find a place in Brisbane and we got hopelessly lost. I then noticed she held the map upside-down.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        I always travel with maps, Gerard. I must have hundreds filed away. And you have to watch the upside down trick! 🙂 I have one coming up in my posts about how Bone was found. –Curt


  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    We try to use the GPS. Once my sister in law said we didn’t need it to get to her son’s house because she knew the way. After being lost for a few blocks I turned the GPS on.
    My daughter from Seattle drove all over San Francisco yesterday as if she knew where she was going using the built in GPs. A paper map is no good to me . The writing is too small. Somehow we all get to the doctor’s office though. Magnets maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Kayti.
      Helvi, very wisely gave up driving many years ago. And I have reached a level of careful driving whereby I get called ‘hey, you dickhead, move over.’
      My days of dealing with road rage are over. You can’t knock those thugs down anymore. One gets charged with assault. Thugs have free range now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres Says:

    Well, my way of doing all these road-and-traffic things is unbearably old-fashioned. I don’t have a GPS, and haven’t yet found the need for one. The one time I tried using one in the middle of Kansas, it guided us perfectly, save for one detail: it didn’t note that a bridge was out. As luck would have it, a local in a farm truck chugged by, and drew us a map on the back of an envelope.

    The only other time I’ve had a discussion about the things was when I was heading to my eye surgeon’s office for post-cataract-surgery checks. The receptionist who called to confirm my appointment said, “Whatever you do, don’t use Google or the GPS. They have us an a spot five miles down the road.”

    Besides, I have lovely conversations with people when I get turned around, and stop to ask directions.

    On the other hand, I do arrange my routes to avoid city driving whenever possible. Coming home from a weekend away yesterday, I drove an extra 60 or 70 miles just to avoid Houston. It was well worth it, believe me.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      In the past it often was difficult to get around. Many streets and roads do not have names. The times we stopped and asked for directions it often turned out they were lost as well. It just seemed so difficult roaming about hoping to get there.
      Since the GPS our driving on the whole has become more peaceful. Of course we don’t use it in familiar surroundings.
      Uniform street names and house numbers are obligatory in Holland. Here, neglect often hides under the umbrella of ‘freedom.’
      You are right though. Not all roads or bridges are updated on GPS systems but one is supposed to update the maps. I am never sure how to do that nor very interested.


  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    We still haven’t got one… though we use a phone sometimes and I think himself will give in soon and permit one into the car.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, most phones have GPS but the screen is too small and it might also be dangerous to figure it out. Helvi insists I put the normal GPS on each time we go to a strange place, or else…


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