Don't trust a GPS system with a British accent

December 4, 2012

It’s been quite a while since I took a road trip. So a couple of friends who I won’t name (Annette and Pat), for privacy reasons of course, set out for a particular workshop in the South, again I won’t name the state (South Carolina) for the above reasons.

Anyway, I’ve never spent much time in the Southern part of the country, limiting my time to travel through airports, so it was no surprise that I ended up with quite a drawl, and that was just while backing out of my driveway. I’m one of those people who pick up on accents and take on their persona immediately. I have so little self-esteem that if anyone calls my house, I don’t even have to meet them, it could be a wrong number, but if they have a British accent, I immediately sound like I’m part of the royal family. With Southerners I was howdy all over the place, which was odd because they hardly use that phrase anymore.

But in setting out on a road trip, I must say, women are great about packing the car. Everything has a place and everything goes in its place. It doesn’t take us long, either. I find that men roll up their sleeves, put on sweat bands and begin packing a car as if they are going on a long convoy in a war zone. Things are packed, put in, taken out, repacked, double-packed, squashed, crammed and finally left on the curb. With women, once it’s in the car, it basically stays there.

From years of experience (actually one trip through Medicine Bow, Wyoming), I can tell you that the most important item placed in the car is the alcohol, not for use during the trip, but upon arrival.

Travelers can find themselves thirstier than a pack of camels in the Gobi Desert. You see, most people just stick it in the back of the car, where it falls out once the tailgate is opened; the big danger here is while you are looking at the shattered glass and googling the location of the nearest liquor store, gang members are stripping the tires off your car, while drug dealers are making off with your luggage and car seats.

Another word of caution here is the GPS device. Now, I’m a map person. If it’s not a map, then it’s straight into the gas station to ask for directions. But today we have come to rely on anything that we don’t have to read or interpret.

Fortunately for us, the voice on the GPS was British; personally I would have preferred Italian or French and something more romantic than, “At 800 feet turn right and enter the motorway.” I’m more of the, “Cara mia, startiziti cume se fortunate el idioza a mi ciamo e buona sera.” You know you are not going to get mad at that voice when you find yourself at Stu’s Hot Dog Emporium instead of hearing you have reached your destination.

Personally, the great thing about driving through the South, besides the beautiful scenery, is the food. You’ve probably heard a great deal about Southern hospitality, and believe me, that has to include down-home cooking. And this particular culinary school of cooking is perfect for me. Everything is fried. We have fried chicken, fried potatoes, fried okra, fried jello, fried shoe leather, fried shrimp, you name it and it will be dipped in batter and dunked in hot oil until you will need a hose to replace those arteries when you arrive home. In fact, just pull into the emergency room and schedule yourself for a bypass instead of programming the GPS for your street address.

Every once in a while, you have to get out of your comfort zone. A road trip is a perfect experience; see the USA, spend money here in this country and get a chance to say, “Y’all.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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