Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Amazon Trail - Queen of the Road

The Amazon Trail

Queen of the Road

Mrs. Bundt is our outdated, refurbished, very basic 3.5” Garmin Nuvi GPS. We named her after a heart-shaped bundt pan which was our first purchase as a couple. I can only say, by way of explanation, that the GPS voice sounds like a Mrs. Bundt.

One day, my sweetheart was imagining Mrs. Bundt’s potential in more weighty endeavors than her role as navigator. She told me, “The first time Mrs. Bundt yelled, ‘Turn right! Turn right!’ – that confused me. Then I realized she was talking about ur house and not criticizing my political leanings.” I laughed with her, but I’ve heard Mrs. Bundt’s voice drip with disapproval as she announced, “Arrival at destination – On Left.”

“Our country needs direction,” my sweetheart said. “Wouldn’t it be great if the politicians had a Mrs. Bundt to tell them which way to turn?”

What a fine idea. When the pols do something heartless and illogical like extend tax credits for the rich or undo a necessary health plan, Mrs. Bundt would cry, “Recalculating! Recalculating!” When the electorate chooses to install wacked out crazies in office, Mrs. Bundt would screech, “Turn left! Turn left!” or, depending on the extremists’ direction, “Turn right! Turn right!”

Ah, The Bunster, our little bunster, all grown up and ready to run the government.

I hope she’s less abused as a policy wonk. I know I’ve uttered a passel of bad words trying to get Mrs. Bundt to talk to me sooner, or more, or less, or at all. Or trying to get her to shut up. She gets so overwrought.

Sometimes I think it’s because we’re gay. Not that we’ve come out to Mrs. Bundt, but, well, the kisses at traffic lights, the affectionate hands, the hot little murmurs. She took us to our wedding, after all.

So call me paranoid, but does she get this snippy with everyone, or is it just us? Her insistence that we call her Mrs. – is that a hetero-chauvinist statement?

We would never call her the Bunster to her face – ah – to her screen. She’s humorless and, I hate to say it, cold.

I’ve shared with Mrs. Bundt my feelings about Big Roads. But will she acknowledge alternatives to super highways? No, not the Bunster. If it’s got a federal or state highway sign on it, that’s the road she wants. Never mind that we’re in Florida and the highways are in continual rush hour condition. Never mind that there’s been a 43 car pileup or a bridge has collapsed.

“Turn in point three miles.” Her diction is perfect, her sentences clipped and to the point. She’ll pause, then say, more insistently, “Turn in Point. Two. Miles.” Another pause, heavy with impatient patience, and she commands, “Turn in point one mile.” More quickly now, not caring if she sounds like a manipulative femme, “Turn in 500 feet.” Her voice is shrill with restrained panic. She shoots her white arrow around a corner, showing us the turnpike ramp. “100 feet!” she cries in desperation. “Turn right! Turn right!”

In the long pause that follows, I imagine her closing her eyes in exasperation, reminding herself not to take it personally, trying to think of us as errant kids because, given the chance, she’d say, “Effing dykes! Stuck on this dinky road behind a thresher going two m.p.h. Why didn’t you listen to me!”

Fortunately, the Bunster has no hair to pull out or there’d be continual mess on the dash. She gets control of herself eventually. Through obviously gritted teeth, she announces that she is, in her vast wisdom and with her generous forgiving spirit, will recalculate our route: “Recalculating!”

I can hear the vindictive smile in her voice as Mrs. Bundt directs us to turn right and the screen shows some complex maneuvers that are the equivalent of a U-turn.

Queen of the road is our Mrs. Bundt. My sweetheart will give me a conniving look. I’ll silence the sputtering queen. But before I can, Mrs. Bunt, as if by her efforts alone, crows with triumphant finality, “Arriving at destination!”

Copyright Lee Lynch 2011

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