The conversation always runs in the same way.
"Turn right at the roundabout."
"Who do you think I am, you dumb bint. No."
Thirty seconds later.
"Take the next left and do a U-turn where possible."
"Piss off. No."
The demands get more urgent the more I defy the voice.
"Take the next right."
"Absolutely not you daft cow."
The voice then resigns itself to my not following orders after a while.
The disembodied voice I'm talking about is that of my car GPS. Her name is Shirley and we have a bit of a love-hate relationship.
Shirley was named after my friend Lachlan's mother. Shirley from the North of England near Lancaster. She's normally found with a cigarette in one hand a pint of bitter in the other and a scowl on her face. I've deliberately set the voice on the GPS unit to that of a woman from the North of England so that I can deliberately pick a fight with her.
Like Lachlan's mother, who was a primary school teacher in the North of England for many years, Shirley the GPS has an authoritarian demeanor with a hint of know it all about it.
Basically Shirley is a lippy cow with a passive aggressive streak. All she needs it the supercilious laugh that she can emit when you finally follow her directions.
Shirley is often wrong however.
She has a couple of favourite phrases.
"When you have the opportunity, please go back on the roadway." is one of these.
My response to this is,"I'm on the road you daft cow, you just don't know it."
I haven't updated the maps for a few years you see, so there are a few roads that just don't appear in the eyes of Shirley.
The other one that always gets me.
"At the next left, turn right. Punt Road."
"I AM NOT TAKING PUNT ROAD!" is my normal reply to this stupid instruction.
In the words of Eliot Perlman, "Darling, what ever you do, what ever time of day it is. Avoid Punt Road."
If you're in England reading this Punt Road is a bit like a car park for 18 hours a day. It's not unlike the car park that is the North Circular. Punt Road is as daunting as the Hangar Lane Gyratory and the Swindon Roundabout in one.
Shirley appears to think that taking Punt Road is a good thing.
Of all of Shirley's faults, sometimes she does know best. Like today, when I had to get out to Healesville to go see my parents who are staying out there in the Yarra Valley for a few days. Here's me getting it into my head that the best way out there was via Ferntree Gully. Shirley was screaming at me to go via the Eastern Freeway, her protestations were of near Biblical proportions.
I took the Monash.
My decision to go out on the Monash way put ten kilometres and half an hour travel time in my journey. Thankfully I wasn't in a rush.
There is a big part of me that wants to smack the smug grin off Shirley's face. Not that she has one. She's just the disembodied voice that comes out of my GPS. There is nothing to smack.
The only thing she's not computerised to do is say,"I told you so."