Polygamous Navigation

Driving alone I sometimes get lost, but it’s simpler than when my wife and I travel together. When I know where I’m going, I go there (and only occasionally blow past a turn when I get too absorbed in listening to Public Radio). Like other guys, if I don’t know where I’m going, I never stop to ask for directions. I usually follow Penelope’s instructions, the pleasant British-accented voice on my Waze GPS.

My wife trusts my driving implicitly, but she considers navigation more of a team sport. If Penelope is turned off, our conversation goes something like this:

“Do you know how to get there?”

“No; I’m just going to go to the general area and drive around honking until someone helps us.”

(Eyeroll) “Fine; I’ll just keep quiet, then. . .”


Why don’t you turn here?”

“We can turn here if you wish.”

“Will that get us there faster?”

“I dunno. We can turn if you want.”

“Well, you just go the way you want to.”


“This doesn’t look familiar. I’m pretty sure we should have turned back there.”

“We can turn anywhere you want to.”

“No; you just go the way you think best . . .”


But Barbara is still uncertain. “Is it beyond I-35E?”


“It’s taking a long time. Are you sure we haven’t passed our turn?”

“I think it’s up ahead here.”

“We should stop and ask.”

“I think we’re good.”

“I feel like we should have taken I-35E.”

“Why don’t I just shut my eyes and you can tell me where to go?”

(Irritated frown) “I’ve never been there. I’m just trying to help . . .”

When my wife is with me and I also have Penelope on the GPS, it gets more complicated.

“What did she say, right or left?”


“It sounded like left . . .”

I have plugged my cellphone into the USB port and balanced it in an empty cup holder.

“No; it was ‘right.’ See, there’s a little right arrow here on the display.”

“When I go, I usually go the back roads.”

“Maybe I can program Penelope to go the back roads.”

“No, you just go the way you think will be the fastest. . .”

“OK; I think this way is fastest.”

“Are you sure she’s taking us the right way?”

“I can turn her off and you can just tell me where to turn.”

“I don’t remember where to turn. I hope she knows.”

“I assume so; I haven’t been there before.”

We hit a straight stretch and Penelope goes silent.

“Did we miss a turn?”

“Penelope says we turn in 1.5 miles.”

“Oh, how does that take us?”

“I dunno; Penelope knows; I’m just following her instructions.”

“Are you sure this is right?”

“Penelope seems to think so . . .”

“Maybe we should stop and ask.”

“I think we’re good.”

Now, realizing that her common-sense suggestions are having no effect, she quiets for a while. Then,

“It feels like we’re going back the way we came.”

“I think this is right.”

“I think we should have turned back there.”

“Penelope says to go straight.”

“This doesn’t seem like the way we went last time.”

“Why don’t you just tell me how to go, since you remember from last time.”

“No, you just go the way you want.”

“I am; I’m following Penelope.”

“I hope she knows where she’s going . . .”

“I think she does.”

“I’m not sure . . .”

“I’m not polygamous; I can’t serve two masters. Either you tell me how to go or I’ll follow Penelope.”

“I guess we can just see if she gets us there.”

“Well, Penelope says we’ve arrived.”

Incredulous, she says, “O look! Here we are!”

4 thoughts on “Polygamous Navigation

  1. I was incredulous at the end of the story, too. Amazing that they got there. I guess that means this story is a comedy. And a pretty funny one.


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