Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Voice of a Possessed GPS...

It's sunny again today. The storm clouds have dissipated and the sky is the clear, cold blue of a chilly winter morning. We had a few storms yesterday including a flash of lightning that seemed to go in one window of our office and out the other. The electrical falsh was so intense that it almost felt tangible. Even when the thunder and lighting and rain left, the winds remained, howling and intense as it rattled at my window.

I walked outside in the wind. I was going for my weekly Lost viewing at my friend's house. She lives in the same apartment complex as me and it takes about five minutes to get there. The wind was so strong I had trouble standing up straight on the way there, it took my breath away literally. It's amazing how spooky a dark and stormy night really is. I tend to have an overactive imagination anyway and in the dark, shadowed, windswept world, there were plenty of scenerios that crossed my mind.

At one point, I passed a motorcycle. It's been covered harmlessly with a tarp everytime I've passed by before. Last night, however, that tarpaulin seemed alived, rattling and billowing and forming shapes that my mind decided should be alarming. At one point, out of the corner of my eye, it looked like a giant dark wolf was watching me.

There was a piece of overhang from the roof of one of the buildings I passed. It tapped at the building in the strong wind, threatening to be torn off and go sailing into the darkness. Because I've seen too many of those teenage horror movies in which someone inevitably gets decapitated by such debris, I was in quite a hurry to move past that, lest it come flying towards me.

After I'd watched Lost and was walking back to my building, the wind blew behind me. I felt as though an enormous hand were shoving me quickly towards my destination, urging me forward to get me out of the night. I wasn't about to argue. It was probably my imagination but I liked the idea of being assisted through the darkness, away from whatever twisted and turned in the wind. That piece of roofing was still tapping but seemed to be looser.

I let that giant hand of bluster push me home quickly. After witnessing my GPS seemingly become possessed by dark forces on Saturday of last week, I wasn't taking any chances.

I didn't tell you about that, did I? Last weekend, on my way to Jungle Jim's, I stopped at a carwash. It was a warm, clear day, the snow had all melted leaving a film of grime and salt on my car. I decided to clean Car off. The carwash was was about a mile from Jungle Jim's. Now, in my car, I have two of those cigarette lighter plug thingies. In one, I have an iPod transponder that allows me to play my iPod through my car stereo. In the other, located in my glove compartment, I have another, into which my GPS was plugged. My GPS has no connection to the outside, no antenna; nothing to get wet.

Everything seemed normal. I love carwashes and this was one of those nifty ones with a track that takes you through without you having to drive. That was fun. When I drove out of the carwash, I turned towards Jungle Jims. And that's when I heard it, the dark voice of a possessed GPS.

You know those reel-to-reel tape things they had back in 'the old days'? And how you could speed them up so that everyone sounded like Alvin and his chipmunks or slow them down so Satan himself seemed to be speaking to you? Yes, the latter is exactly how my GPS sounded. Suddenly, the simple directions of "turn left onto Dixie Highway" sounded significantly less like directions and much more like a threat.

You might think I was alarmed. Well, actually....yes, I was. However, I decided to try to take control of the situation. After all, I was driving a car. Panic would have been bad. Instead, I talked to GPS and said something along the lines of, "um, Satan? Is that you? Would you mind giving me my GPS lady back?" GPS did not obey. The super-slowed, deep and ominous tones of my new GPS guide continued to try to guide me. He's a bit hard to understand, actually. He sounds like he's got an entire set of pool balls in his mouth. I knew where Jungle Jim's was at this point but I wasn't about to have my GPS lady taken down by this odd newcomer.

So I did the only thing I could think of. I unplugged my GPS and turned it on and off. After a few moments, my GPS lady was back. I don't know if I managed to banish the demonic posessor but he seemed to have gone. I won't say that I'm not wary of him coming back but at least I can understand my GPS now and I don't feel...wrong for listening to it giving me directions.

Of course, it did make my drive more interesting, I will say that. I think it might be fun to actually program GPS units to have different voices. I know some of them can do different accents and speak in different languages but it might be fun to have, say, Batman give you directions. Better yet, it'd fun to program personalities into them so that maybe if you went the wrong way, Christian Bale could yell at you and tell you that taking a wrong turn was f***ing distracting. Now THAT would be awesome.

But I digress. What's new? Anyway, back to my original musings. It's still windy this morning but it's just strong gusts, not a howling windstorm. We lost power for about a minute, long enough to make me have to reset my clocks but no long enough to be more than a nuisance. Even with all the rain we had yesterday, my GPS is sounding like her old self which is interesting given that the last time my car was that wet, she, um, went away. She's been back for a while but I tell you, the next time a demon takes over my GPS, I'm recording it somehow, just to prove I'm not crazy.

I always need a little proof of that.

Happy Thursday.

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