I don’t have road rage…although some who ride in my car beg to differ. I have GPS rage. Maps is in charge, and I hate it. Oh don’t get me wrong – I love having global positioning at my fingertips to help me navigate the squiggly lines our state calls roads. Even George Washington grumped about that in one of his diary entries when he was passing through Massachusetts, but I find a squiggly grid of asphalt over horse tracks quite charming.
It’s that Siri wants me to go on the highway every single time I hit the road, even if I opt for the alternate route when she hands out the options. I type in the address, watch the spinning ball calculate, and most of the I time pick the back-roads option. Sure it may be a few more minutes in time, but it’s usually less miles in distance, and I just prefer a little more scenery.
But nope. When I pull out of my driveway and hear, “Starting out to <address>” and turn the way I know is the alternate route, all of a sudden I see a big REROUTING come across the screen. Say what?
Then when I hear, “Turn around when possible,” I know she wants me on the highway. So I defy her to stay on the back-road track and the big REROUTING game begins. She directs me toward the highway, I defy. She redirects, I defy. Back and forth back and forth until sometimes I trash my destination altogether just for the sake of defying her. Yea.
Sir Husband with his unbounded patience finds it quite comical, along with my irritation-turned-rage. It’s particularly bad at night, Siri really has the upper hand and knows it. It’s dark, my night vision isn’t keen and things look scary and confusing. She always wins.
I suppose it’s a control thing, I’m only a follower if I can maintain some personal control. Me against the machine, technology, Big Brother.
But, life’s idiosyncrasies prevail.
Because as I caught my breath after a particularly irritating rerouting adventure – in which I found myself on the highway before all was said and done – I learned that Siri is a real person. A woman named Susan Bennett, who in fact was not even hired by Apple to be the voice of Siri and beloved Maps. They took her voice from some previously recorded material she did for another company in 2005, and didn’t even compensate her.
I was feeling rage against a real person, well not really. But technically speaking, there is a human behind the device. There are over 700 million iPhones in the world now. She’s literally all over the map…and in my car trying to get me on the highway.
So I might maintain a little George Washington grump when I fight to turn right when pushed to turn left on a road that doesn’t even go in a straight line. But I know without a doubt, eventually Susan Bennett will get me where I am going and let me know it with her clear certainty. You have arrived.