Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

I learned a number of things on our trip.

One of the things I learned was that there are Dunkin' Donuts everywhere in Massachusetts! If you go to Maine, drive from Boston! It's donut and coffee heaven all along the way. Who knew?

And another, more interesting thing is this. In Maine you are constantly driving 11 miles.

Honestly. Anywhere you're going, no matter where, you will drive in 11-mile increments. I'm not kidding. Wherever you go - whether it's 63, or 97, or 130 miles away - it will be divided up mostly into 11-mileses.

How do I know?

My parents bought a new GPS and gave us their old one. Her name is Alice.

Incidentally, their new one, which has a lot more bells and whistles? She does not yet have a name. So if you have any suggestions, I'll pass them along to Betty.

Anyway. So Alice? Knows pretty much everything.

We brought her with us and not only did she save us $10 per day in GPS rental, but she got us all over rural Maine. Which, as far as I can tell, is the entire state. She even found the place we were staying, which was both small and not really main-roadish. (But very Maine-roadish. Heh.)

But it was always, always 11 miles. "Please drive the highlighted route. Then turn left on Route 127. Then drive 11 miles."

"In point five miles, turn right on US 1. Then drive 11 miles."

Honestly. You try it; 11 miles is the magic number in Maine.

One thing I like about Alice is that she is both firm and patient. When you fuck up her instructions, all she says is, "Recalculating."

You can imagine the electronic sigh before she says it, though.

You know she's all, why are these people so stupid? I tell them a mile beforehand, and again half a mile before, and somehow, they still miss the turn.


But she never says this. Just, "Recalculating."

Plus, she also doesn't say, "Another stop at Dunkin' Donuts? It's as if you don't even want to fit in your wedding dress."

To which I would've had to say, "Shut it, Alice."

So anyway, we'd disappoint Alice, and she'd recalculate. And gently lead you around the block to go back in the correct direction.


When you know she really wanted to say, "I'm sick of recalculating! How fucking hard is it to get on 295 South? You've done it three fucking times since you arrived yesterday! When you didn't actually need to!"


We love Alice.


  1. hahahaha. That '11-mile thing' must be a New England quirk. When I used to go and visit a close friend in Rhode Island, no matter where you were going, everything was exactly 45 minutes away (or so all the locals said). Now, this may or may not have something to do with the fact that you can drive the lenght of the entire state in 45 minutes, who knows?

  2. "Recalculating" is now my new favorite euphemism. :o)

  3. Hahaha!! Recalculating! My husband and I have a running joke -- well, a thing that makes us laugh: a GPS-style voice politely saying "You missed the turn. Again." Heh. But "Recalculating" is so much more polite! Hahaha!!

  4. Alice sounds like such a lady. I really need to give Garmin a better name.

  5. I currently live 15 minutes away from EVERYTHING.

  6. I'm just trying to figure out how my mother got into that tiny black box.

  7. love the alice in wonderland title! and why oh why is it so fun to name gps devices?? ours is evie. my sister's is coco. my friend's is stanley. i think she actually has - gasp! - a male voice on hers. however, he did try to kill her by having her drive straight into a lake one time, so i dunno if i'd trust a guy GPS :)

  8. Ryane - I don't know, but some places really are like that, aren't they? 45 minutes! Ha!

    Dagny - Oh, now it's going to be my new favorite euphemism as well!

    A.S. - We spent a lot of time in the car, and a lot of that car time we made up things that Alice would be saying to us. And kept cracking ourselves up. :)

    mrsmac - That made me giggle. She is a lady. And Garmin is a fantastic product - How did I spend my whole life without one?

    FreckledK - That's the best place to live!

    kris - Hahahahahaha!

    kate.d. - I LOVE that you got it! I don't know - I think they feel very much like people. My dad named the new one Fred and gave it a man's voice and Betty was not happy and requested a change to a woman's voice. Hence the no name yet. I will have to tell them about the lake-driving perils!

  9. Hmmm... that reminds me, I'm still trying to find a name for my GPS. Nothing's stuck yet. Any suggestions? She's a female, though I'm not sure yet if she's a lady. I don't know her well enough.

  10. Crikey! It seems as though the chipper is always 10 kilometers away! Ta', mate.

  11. Haha, I absolutely love this. The GPS my parents have is a lot more uptight and unforgiving. As you get closer to the turn it picks up in speed and intensity and if you miss it? oooh, it basically yells at you.

    Terrifying really.

  12. My mom and I took a trip to Maine a few summers ago and if we had HAD a GPS like Alice, I'm sure that she would have exploded in anger after my driving got us lost once every, oh, six minutes.

    But Maine. I love Maine. It's one of the most beautiful places I've been lucky enough to visit. And get lost in.

  13. Our GPS (Mio) has a very correct and proper male British voice which my hubby uses, I switch it to the male czechoslovakian voice (it's so sexy) and expect to get lost. My other fav is the Swedish voice only to be used when heading for Ikea.


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