The Directionatrix and the Intern (aka Calculating Route...)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/10/06 16:11 -04:00, original URI:

Nothing technical but hopefully something entertaining that will doubtlessly provide insight into my psyche for people who are into that sort of thing!

Looking at how women deal with the particular situation of being in the passenger seat of the car when a man is driving can be quite fascinating.

The same scenario could theoretically apply to men in the passenger seat when a man is driving but I tend to ignore them so it tends to not apply to me!

For the purposes of categorization, there are essentially two distinct categories (assuming the woman knows the area, obviously):

You might imagine there are shades of gray here, but in my experience those are simply cases of people self consciously aware of that Holly Hunter a-la-Jane Craig/Courtney Cox a-la-Monica Gellar view on life just locking it up a bit. These two approaches are really quite distinct and as life proves neither is specifically better or worse than the other, they are just different.

In all my life I have never known acquaintance, friend, girlfriend, lover, really anyone who could be both simultaneously.

And this just makes sense because if one is such a detail oriented person having those details ignored is bound to build resentment. How could it be any other way?

Again I'll point out this is not really specific to women, but it mainly is for me personally; I am sure the same categorization applies to men.

Now I'll point out where technology has done what people cannot.

I bought a Magellan RoadMate 760 a while back

recently upgraded to a Magellan Maestro 4040

after some asshole broke into my car and stole the 760, and suddenly I had a woman on my dashboard who combines these two unique characteristics in a way that I doubt any person could.

As a by-the-way, they both use Windows CE, though talking more about that would make this post technical so I will reserve that for another day!

She (of course I chose the female voice, who are we kidding here?) tells me exactly where to go and how and reminds me when turns are coming up so I can be in the proper lane. She know much better than I ever could exactly where we are at all times and is not shy about her knowledge in this respect.


If I do not follow her advice, she waits a bit (just in case I manage to get back on the route?) and then without a frustrating sigh, without aggravation, she simply says a phrase that resonates with me much more than You're got mail ever did (since I only had the movie for it, I never had an AOL account):

Calculating route

And then she gives me the new route.

I have dubbed her the Directionatrix though I have not given her an actual name beyond that since when I name things it tends to be after people and as I have already said I have never known anyone with these defining characteristics. I could pick a name of no one I have ever known before but I wouldn't really feel the connection and then if I ever did meet someone with that name it would very weird.

I think Directionatrix covers it, though, and she is not the sort to hold the name thing against me.

Now some may think this name suggests a particular image I have in mind of her, something like

but if you asked me about it I'd just refuse to answer on the grounds that my answer might tend to embarrass me. :-)

Another interesting factoid -- both the 760 and the 4040 have the feature that in addition to the map and the directions, there is a text-to-speech feature so that street names are also part of what is provided.

The 760's voice for street names was different than the one for directions, and of course her pronunciation was not perfect for many of those street names with odd spellings so I kind of dubbed her the Intern to cover the fact that she was clearly quite bright even if she was younger and didn't have an active vocabulary of every street name in the United States of America.

It was funny to imagine The Directionatrix and her Intern, it was almost like a superhero, Seth Cohen-esque comic book idea, which (were he not fictional) I feel quite certain I could convince him to put into the story. One look at the image and he'd have been sold:

Anyway, the 4040 has the same text-to-speech feature for street names but the voices are now pretty much the same, so it feels like My Directionatrix has lost her Intern, which though sad is a part of life -- no one but Asok can be an intern forever.

One more thing I have to make it easier to take with me when I travel, the portable dash mount:

This is much cooler than suction cups or any other means of mounting, and as a bonus if it is in your carry-on while flying there is no way that TSA can avoid the curiosity that drives them to want to see what the hell that shape is. When you tell them, smiling, they are simply nicer to you any way you look at it (and given that I have to go through indignity of the scooter-inspired pat-down, having them chuckling is a good thing all the way around)....


This post brought to you by 𐂁 (U+10081, a.k.a. LINEAR B IDEOGRAM B102 WOMAN)

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