Friday, April 2, 2010

Traveling with Auntie Garmin

It's spring break, so that can only mean one thing in the Knight family -- we've been packing for a solid week to go away for two days.

It was shortly after our daughter was born that my husband and I realized traveling light was no longer an option.

"Want to run to the store?" he asked.

"Sure!" I said, hopping up, and heading toward the door.

It was then that we stopped short and looked first at our precious child and then at the mountain of equipment surrounding her -- baby carrier, diaper bags, bottles, rattles, stroller, car seat, pacifiers and a baby swing that we couldn't leave home without.

"Uh, I think I'll just stay here," I said.

Though we soon realized that staying home for the next 18 years wasn't an option, we never managed to streamline our outings. In fact, the older our children grew, the more stuff we simply couldn't leave behind.

It finally culminated with our last trip to Florida. We went for a week, and my husband and I both declared it would be easier to move. Our truck just wouldn't hold the three kayaks, five bicycles and the vast majority of our earthly belongings, so we decided to haul it all in a 6-by-12 trailer. It was a great idea until we realized we only got eight miles to the gallon.

Despite our packing, however, we always seem to forget something. For my son, that's his toothbrush.

"Can't I just finger brush?" he asks -- every single time.

One item we never forget when traveling is our Global Positioning System (GPS), or as we like to call her, Auntie Garmin. I welcome her on every trip because that means I no longer have to struggle to read the maps or apologize for getting east and west mixed up, or strain my eyes to read the road signs ahead.

Now when we are traveling, I relax and let "her" tell him what to do. And therein lies the problem.

It seems my husband isn't used to taking orders from a non-Southern gal. Somehow, we Southern women have a way of sweetening our commands. You know, we can make it seem like it really was HIS idea to take the scenic route and stop by the antique stores, since it's on the way.

But not Auntie Garmin. She's crisp, harsh, abrupt and doesn't sugar-coat it when you turn in the wrong direction. Although my husband appreciates her input, it's her accent, or lack thereof, that really irks him.

I began to wonder -- why not make a GPS with a Southern accent? I would even volunteer to do the voice-over. It would sound something like this, "Turn rite here, sugah," or "Go down past Bubba's filling station and take a left."

I even imagine she would toss in a few bits of advice. as Southern women are apt to do. For instance, if you make a wrong turn, I can hear her say, "I don't like to impose, but I don't believe I would go that way if I were you," or "Slow down now; what's your hurry?"

In the meantime, however, we are stuck with flat mid-western snippy-sounding Auntie Garmin. She's the one responsible for getting us where we are going. She's the one to blame if we get lost. So, if we drive in circles for hours on toll roads looking for Disney World with three hungry kids because she couldn't tell the difference between east and west, it's all her fault now -- not mine. As we Southern women like to say, bless her heart. Now, if she could just remind my son about his toothbrush.

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