Friday, September 21, 2018


“Shut up Karen,” Gladys responded irritated “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  Gladys put on her blinker and turned left onto FM 1225.  “I know where I’m going.”  She drove along at the maximum speed allowed enthralled by the lush green pastures and woods. 

She reached over and adjusted the volume on the radio which was tuned to one of her favorite Oldies Country station.  George Jones was stopping loving her today and Willie Nelson was about to be on the road again when she realized nothing looked familiar.  Karen yelled “make the next left on to County road Five- Five- Four”.

“No!  Damn it, Karen you are going to get me lost again.  The last time we took a road trip I ended up on the edge of an arroyo with no way to turn around.  I had to back almost a mile in order to get out of that mess.  Nope if I just stay on this road long enough it will take me into the next town and I can catch the highway.”

“Make the next left onto County Road Five-Five-Four, then go 2 and ½ miles to Highway One-Six-Seven” Karen demanded.

“Listen here, Karen, if you don’t stop being so bossy I’m not asking you to come with me anymore.   I am telling you I am just going to stay on this road until we get to that little town up the road.  What’s the name of it?  Teasletown?  Weasletown?  Anyway, I am NOT turning on some gravel road that will lead me to the edge of a cliff with no way to turn around.  Been there done that!” Gladys responded.

Gladys turned the music down even a little lower, hoping that would make her feel less lost and she slowed down to just above the minimum speed allowed by law.  So slow in fact a man on a tractor passed her giving her a big old one finger wave.  She crept along searching for something familiar. She looked over at Karen, who by this time wasn’t speaking to her.  She humpfed and went back to squinting out the front windshield and creeping along at a snail’s pace.
“Is the turn up here soon?” she inquired.

“When you are able, make a U-turn and go to County Road Five-Five-Four, then go two- and one-half miles to Highway One-Six-Seven” Karen stated adamantly.

“Gawddamnit Karen, I told you, I am NOT turning around.  How far is it to the next town?  I need a Starbucks or at the very least a Micky-D’s coffee.  I am beginning to get a migraine.” Gladys retorted.

“In eight and a half miles there is a Diner on your right.” Karen responded trying to be helpful.

“Is that where Weasle-Teasletown is?  I don’t want a diner I just want a drive through.” Gladys was getting short on temper. 

She drove down a hill and up the other side, she passed over Sleepy Woman Creek with its brown water flowing almost to the crest.  She sped up a little in anticipation of the bitter hot black liquid that would calm the pounding in her head.  She slowed to watch as a herd of cattle moseyed down a knoll and into a tank to get some relief from the late summer heat.  She pulled over, took out her phone and snapped a picture of a longhorn relaxing in the shade of an oak tree.  It really was a pretty drive, even if she didn’t know where she was.  She pulled back onto the blacktop and sped up a bit “how much further” she queried.

Karen sat silent.  Gladys nudged her, but Karen didn’t respond.  Gladys poked her; still Karen sat silent.  “Damn-it Karen!  I asked you a question.  Are you just going to sull up and ignore me?  How much further?”

Finally, after a few minutes “in three miles exit to the right.” 

“So that’s where the diner is or that’s where I turn to get on the highway?” Gladys asked

Again, Karen sat silent, in defiance.  She had told Gladys to turn on the county road, then she had told her to turn around, but Gladys wouldn’t listen.  She wouldn’t do as she suggested.  Okay, yes, there was that one time where she had instructed Gladys to stay on Arroyo Grande and it had ended in a deep valley with no way out.  She didn’t map it, she was just following the map she had been given.  It wasn’t her fault.  And traveling with Gladys was no picnic.  I mean she wouldn’t take her instruction and then yell at her for getting lost.  Also, she was horrible about changing her route on a whim and not giving her enough time to catch up and locate her on the map.  It wasn’t easy being Gladys’s navigator.  Heck, Karen thought, I’d rather have been Amelia Earhart’s navigator. 

“Has it been three miles yet?  I don’t see anything.” Gladys stated nervously.

“In two miles exit to the right.” Karen replied dryly.

Gladys drove on anxiously watching for the exit as Karen sat silently dejected in the passenger seat.  “I see it!” Gladys screamed excitedly.  She exited right and pulled in to the front of the Easy Inn Diner.  It was deserted and dark.  The windows were dust covered and the door was sealed shut with a plywood guard.  “It’s CLOSED!” she yelled at Karen.   “Where is the nearest fillin station with coffee?” she screamed.

Karen sat quiet.  She was not going to respond to Gladys’s craziness.  She was going to sit in the wasteland of nothingness and ignore the ranting and demanding of her companion. 

Gladys once more eased onto the black top and put her foot on the accelerator.  “I’mma tell you what, Karen.  This shit has got to stop.  I mean, you give me bad directions, you take me down dead-end streets and then you sull up and won’t talk to me for miles and miles.  Remember that time out in the desert on the Interstate?  Remember how you didn’t talk to me for almost five hours?  I mean I know there was nothing out there but dirt and cactus, but still a little conversation would have been nice.   No, you decided you just weren’t going to have any input at all.  Everyone told me to take you with me.  I would get lost without you.  Well, you get me lost, and here is another example of just that.  You got me out here in the middle of the state and I am lost!  L*O*S*T just like them people in that show.  What do you have to say to that?”

Karen sat quiet.  She had nothing to say.  What could she say? She spun on this.  She thought and finally responded “when safe make a U-turn.”

“Fine, I’ll make a U-turn.”  She eased to the shoulder looked both ways at the non-existent traffic and made a U-turn.  “Now what, Karen?”

Then she pipped up “In two and three quarters mile take a left onto Highway One-Five-Five, go 37 miles and your destination will be on the right.”

Gladys sighed, it was this way every-time she used Karen Cortana to map her route.  Maybe it was time for her to friend Suzie Siri.

1 comment:

tam said...

Gladys' Karen and my "sweetie" must be closely related. That was too familiar, but hilarious.