This is a marvellous gadget. My family bought me one after I got lost a few times while visiting them in their various places of abode. You soon grow very used to this little travelling companion when you aren't fumbling under the dash for it and I just love the way it lets me go boldly forth in unknown cities and eight -lane intersections. Here are some of my reasons for preferring it to a husband. I must confess I haven't yet had the time to discover all its capabilities.
- Never comments on your driving ability or the way you reverse park.
- It always takes you where and when you want to go and never keeps you waiting or stands you up
- It almost always gets you where you are going and usually much faster than if you were using a Melways or even Google. Have you ever tried reading those instructions while driving through town?
- It knows exactly where you stand without having to ask and only rarely leads you astray
- It willingly takes orders without complaint.
- Never gives unsolicited advice
- Doesn’t get offended if you don’t take it.
- Nor does it make smart comments like,”Why don’t you wear anything as sexy as that?” or “How come you’re having that cheesecake when you are on a low joule diet?”
- It doesn’t care whether you are tall or short, young or old, wearing Prada or Target or your nightie under your clothes.
- It is never grumpy or bad –tempered and never wants to go fishing instead.
- Its voice is always calm and cheerful. It never swears and if you get tired of that terribly proper BBC voice, you can tap a button and change it.
- Never looks at other cars and has never been unfaithful as far as I can tell.
- It never says “I told you so” even when it could.
- It never puts down your ideas or thinks you should be doing something else.
- It gently warns you when you are speeding and gives you plenty of time to change lanes.
- It never yells or panics or calls you Madam Whiplash
- It doesn’t care how often you stop to take photos, have coffee, visit markets and garage sales or change your mind completely.
- It doesn’t even mind going shopping
- It has a reassuring way of getting back on track, even after you have taken three wrong turns
- It never tires of telling you “You are still on the fastest route.”
OK, I know there are a couple of drawbacks. It won’t take out the garbage or take you out to dinner nor is it very affectionate or hot in bed, but on the other hand, it never snores, never steals all the Doona and never leaves the seat up.
While I wouldn’t mind if it occasionally had a few opinions of its own, it could, with just a few modifications and training be the perfect travel companion.
In the interests of continuous Product Improvement, here are a few suggestions for Tom Tom and other manufacturers. The first three are serious, the others are optional:
- I don’t always want to go The Fastest or the Shortest Route. How about the most interesting One?
- What about a little commentary on the points of interest as you are going along. Just hearing “You are still on the fastest route,“ for 2,000 km gets a bit boring when you are crossing the Nullabor or in a two hour traffic jam.
- Could you please try to get the place names right. While it is amusing to hear Australian places called Wagger Wagger (Wagga Wagga is actually pronounced Wogga Wogga) or Gerulton, or Kalamundaaei, or NayteeIoh 3, it could be confusing to strangers. Only the other day, a tourist was saying that they were just going through Beeechino and then some other utterly unrecognisable place, as they heard it from their GPS and I thought I hope they weren't waiting for roadside assistance.
· A more personalised greeting would be nice, “Hi Honey, how was your day?” or maybe, “How would you like to travel? Do you want to go fast or should we go nice and slow? Or "I know a beautiful lookout and a great place to eat.” Or “There’s a movie you’d like on at the State.”
· It could learn a few jokes and have a few things to say about current affairs.
· And maybe it could be taught to apologise on those rare occasions when it lands me on an elevated freeway and tells me to turn right through the safety barrier.