“Take a left and the M2 is right there. You can’t miss it”, said the man giving me directions. He had no idea what I was capable of missing. When I reached Bangor, I knew something was wrong. I stopped the car in a lay-by, rolled the window down and asked someone walking their dogs, “Can you please tell me the way to Antrim?” They tried unsuccessfully to hide their shock and amusement, asked me to turn around and go about 20 miles in the other direction on the M2.
Left and right is manageable but east and west is a bit much. North and south add further complications. My emotional and physical dependence on the Tom-tom is apparent from the panicked state I get into when it decides not to play. I feel abandoned without it. I can proudly claim to have successfully managed to go round in circles, despite a working sat-nav. Communication gaps between man and machine are inevitable. The small advantage is that the machine is not programmed to yell at me when I make a mistake. In a zen-like manner it states ‘recalculating’.
That’s our code. Si and I have chosen it as the most appropriate declaration at times of misunderstandings. It is a way of buying time, naming and identifying the probability of approaching danger. Luckily we haven’t had to use it much.