Monday, May 10, 2010

My brief fling with Mr. T comes to an end

I never expected things to end so abruptly, but relationships can be like that.

Mr. T and I got off to a rocky start anyway. We had some communication issues. I guess you could say our timing was off. He'd say something and I'd respond just a bit too late. Then I tried to overcompensate and ended up responding too early.

And when I talked, well. Mr. T never listened to anything I had to say.

My husband, now, that was a different story. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he loved Mr. T from day one. They spent a lot of time together, but I always held back, resisting. Until one day. Somehow I had ended up in downtown San Francisco, with no idea even which direction home was. So I summoned Mr. T. "Turn left, ahead," he said, in that gruff voice he once used for the bad guys on The A Team. Step by step, he maneuvered me through the confusing one-way streets and pointed me in the right direction. "Now, take the motorway," he said finally. "Mr. T don't get no ticket!"

After that day, I started spending more and more time with Mr. T. I even got used to his silly catchphrases like, "Don't gimme no jibber-jabber!" and the way he would growl, "Bear right! Grrrrrr!"

It got so I would never even look at a map. I'd just punch in the address and Mr. T would sit there in the center console telling me which way to go, when to turn, until finally, "You have arrived at your destination." I even forgave him the time I was on my way to a hair salon and he took me to an empty field. The salon was new, Mr. T's map hadn't been updated. He is a guy, after all. It's not like he could simply admit he didn't know how to get to the place.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, especially if technology is involved. My husband got a new car with a built in navigation system, and before you knew it, he was hardly spending any time with Mr. T. Although Mr. T didn't specifically say anything about it, I think the resentment built up, and he quite unfairly took his anger out on me.

It happened one day when I was once again lost in downtown San Francisco (I know, you'd think I would just spend a little time and learn my way around the city) and I asked him for help. But did he direct me immediately to the freeway and home? Not this time, no! Instead he kept telling me to turn after we'd already passed the street he was talking about. It was like he was on time-delay, which is not a feature you want on your navigation system. In the backseat I had a kid who was just about to pee his pants and it was rush hour traffic and we were on the wrong freeway, heading to San Jose. I threw Mr. T on the floor of the car in frustration, and he told me helpfully that I should take the next exit and turn around.

After that things were never the same between us. Then a few months later, there was the unrelated incident in which I spilled some coffee on Mr. T. He refused to work for a while. Later he miraculously revived. But in the meantime, I came to a sort of peace with the old-fashioned way of using MapQuest, and the even more old-fashioned methods of asking directions and utilizing maps. I suppose someday I'll have a phone that can find my location and tell me how to get where I'm going. But for the time being I still just use my phone to call people, and occasionally to wake me up in the morning. And I like looking at a map and gaining an understanding of where I'm at in the world. I think I'm going to use more maps and less technology. Which is good because I still can't figure out how to use the navigation system in the new car.

And because I tried to summon Mr. T the other day, but he was unresponsive.

I guess maybe he realized he was no longer needed.

No comments: