Friday, March 11, 2016

The lady inside my phone who talks to me

Over the last few weeks, I've made several triumphant trips back and forth to the east side of Portland from The Beav.

I say "triumphant" only because, even though I spent some 20 years of my early life living in various parts of northeast Portland, I am now hopelessly confused by the new and emerging landscapes in this part of town. (The fact that I didn't get my driver's license till I was 21 and was living in The Beav may have contributed to this. Those Multnomah County DMVs are h.a.r.s.h.)

Enter The Lady Inside My Phone Who Talks to Me. We shall call her Gabby.

Gabby is my new travel BFF in PDX.

Gabby now sits proudly in the passenger seat with my destination in her hands any time we stray out of the west side of town. She knows all my secrets, all my fears, all my joys. (Well, not really. She's a phone app, after all.)

BUT she does know how to get me places.

We've gotten into a pleasant routine -- me the pilot and Gabby, the patient yet firm navigator.

"In a quarter of a mile, turn right."

Tick. Tick. Tick.

"In 500 feet, turn right."

Tick. Tick. Tick.

"Turn right."

She's so calm, so assured. And she never says, "Don't be such a tool. Just turn right."

Under other circumstances, i.e., traveling with certain family members, it often is a pitched verbal debate:

CFM: "Are you sure we should turn right!??"

Me: "YES!"

CFM: "I really think we should turn left!! It feels like it should be over on the left!!??"


CFM: "I'm turning LEFT! Trust me."


Gabby also gracefully recalibrates. This is a somewhat unnerving habit but always with my best interest in mind. I tend to listen carefully.

For example, on a recent jaunt over to southeast Portland just before rush hour (always a treat), her original directions, which I read first, had me going over the Marquam Bridge to Portland's Central Eastside.

Minutes before the exit, Gabby changed her mind.

"In 500 feet, take the Market St. exit."

WTF. But far be it for me to argue with The Lady Inside My Phone.

I took the exit. And with that, Gabby guided me through downtown and onto the Hawthorne Bridge -- a far more efficient (and apparently less congested way) to get to my destination. She also got me home. . . in the dark.

Sometimes, I wish I could change Gabby's flat, calm voice. Maybe something classic and just a little imperious -- like Lady Violet of "Downton Abbey" fame. . . or bright and brassy, peppered with an F Bomb here and there. Bette Midler maybe?.

But that's not to be. It's OK. Gabby's my go-to gal and erstwhile travel companion.

I like her just the way she is. As long as she doesn't call me a tool.

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