My Car Is Smarter Than I Am

We bought a new mini-van last week.

And I should qualify that by telling you that we never buy new cars.  At the mere mention of a new car, my adorably frugal Hubs starts twitching and mumbling something about "depreciates the moment you drive off the lot…" etc.

But, we had done our research and had our sights set on a Honda.  Since Hondas evidently (according to all the Honda groupies in my life) drive for a gazillion miles and could survive a nuclear holocaust and drive on the ocean floor, we figured it was an investment to buy new this time around. 

Y’all, it’s gorgeous.  It really is.  And it scares me.

See, we went ahead and got the version with the navigational system on board.  Partly because my frugal Hubs is also generous, and partly because he’s tired of sheepish phone calls at his office that begin, "Babe, I’m a little lost…"

We first tried out the nav system on the test drive, on which we had taken our four kids (before which we had threatened them within inches of their sticky little lives not to touch A THING.)  Our salesman was very young, hip and single.   

When he first loaded up the nav system (I was driving), he wanted to show me the voice recognition system.  He shot a dubious glance at the restless natives in the back seat.  "Uh, it has to be quiet in the car for it to work." 

We quieted them down, and our salesman said, "find the nearest Mexican restaurant."  Suddenly little flags popped up all over the screen, marking the spots.  The peanut gallery in the back erupted.

"COOOOOOL!"

"THAT IS SO WICKED!"

And the boys, thinking that we were about to purchase a car with a magical genie living in the dashboard, began shouting requests:

"GIVE US A VIDEO GAME!"

"WE WANT A PIZZA!"

Really, it was such a proud parenting moment.

The salesman went on to explain that we can follow the directions given, or go our own route.  The nav system will realize what we’re doing and re-configure directions.

Did you see that last sentence?

MY CAR WILL REALIZE WHAT WE’RE DOING.  No car should be realizing anything.  Now do you see why I’m nervous?  It’s like having Big Brother (or Big Sister, since our voice chick is female) sitting in my car with me.  What will she "realize" next? 

"Mrs. Dryer, I think you were a little hard on Joseph just now."

"Mrs. Dryer, I think Taco Bueno is a poor choice for someone on a low-carb diet."

That nosy little hussy.

52 thoughts on “My Car Is Smarter Than I Am

  1. momrn2 says:

    Oh how fun! A couple years ago I had a business trip to Phoenix. I had to drive from the airport to a specified location, and then across town to another location. I then had to find my way back to the airport.
    I had never been to Phoenix before. My boss told me to rent a car with one of the GPS systems in it similar to what you are referring to.
    Sure enough, I put in the location and it would direct me. If I missed a turn, made a wrong turn, etc. it just re-calculated my move and gave me a new route.
    I wanted to bring that thing home with me!! It was fabulous! If I ever travel solo to a large city like that again…I’d get the same thing, even if I had to cover the additional cost!!
    Congrats on such a great toy. So, I’m curious… is this a Mother’s Day gift, or a just because gift? πŸ™‚

  2. kelli says:

    Don’t those thing ROCK? We tried it in a Tahoe, but it scared me TO DEATH. I was highly intimidated by the words “AI” (are those really words), ok, the letters AI used in the salespitch- as in “this car has such AI it will ‘sense’ what you need to do”.
    Like I want a car saying, out loud, “Put down that burger NOW!” or “What part of you need to pee dont’ you get”?
    Yeah. Gimme me 99 Rover. Nice, British, dead pan quiet. Even when I’m lost.

  3. kelli says:

    Don’t those thing ROCK? We tried it in a Tahoe, but it scared me TO DEATH. I was highly intimidated by the words “AI” (are those really words), ok, the letters AI used in the salespitch- as in “this car has such AI it will ‘sense’ what you need to do”.
    Like I want a car saying, out loud, “Put down that burger NOW!” or “What part of you need to pee dont’ you get”?
    Yeah. Gimme me a 99 Rover. Nice, British, dead pan quiet. Even when I’m lost.

  4. Jana says:

    Very cool. Sounds like something I could make use of; I’m quite directionally challenged. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the new car!

  5. Debbie says:

    I drive a Range Rover, nav voice is male, WITH A BRITISH ACCENT, so I named him Nigel. We enjoy each other on “the motorway”!

  6. Gina says:

    We love our Hondas but alas neither has a navigational system. We had a rental car a few years ago that did. It was more fun than is probably normal.

  7. Amy says:

    We went to Florida with my brother in law and my mother in law. MIL had a portable GPS, and so did we. Since they were new to both of us, we were playing with them, seeing if they agreed on directions, etc.
    My husband was driving. The female voice in his mom’s GPS would say, “In 1000 feet, turn left.” His mom would say, “In 1000 feet, turn left honey.” My female-voiced GPS would then say, “In 500 feet, turn left,” and I would say, “Left in 500 feet, sweetie.”
    This went on for a few minutes. Then my husband said, “Terrific. Now I have FOUR women telling me what to do!!” Hahaha!

  8. Sarah Pinnix says:

    Congrats on your new car. I have a question: “When is it ever quiet in a mini van?!!
    I used to have a car that talked, and said stuff like, “Your seat belt is not buckled” “fuel level is low” (this started at 1/4 of a tank) “The door is ajar” The problem was, she would not shut up!! It drove me crazy. The first question I would ask is can you turn her off if you want!
    However, it would come in handy, say, when your husband won’t stop for directions. You can just ask her and there’s nothing he can do about it! He He

  9. pappa says:

    CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW VEHICLE!!!! We’ve never gotten the GPS thingy, but I bet it is cool!
    Again, congratulations!!!!
    Cousin DV

  10. Big Mama says:

    Oh, I wish I had someone who could tell me how to get places while I’m driving…I mean other than my 3 year old and my husband.
    Congratulations on the new van! Isn’t that a sentence you always dreamed of hearing when you were in your early 20’s?

  11. oh amanda says:

    I just l-o-v-e a GPS! Lucky you! It just makes me feel like I’m using a tool Jack Bauer and Chloe would use! (any 24 fans? huh? huh?)

  12. Karen says:

    I have an Odyssey with the navigation system too (it was my Mother’s Day present 2 years ago). I *love* the navigation system… we moved to CA less than a month after I got the van, so it has been invaluable in helping us get around a new city/state.
    Now, if it would just clean itself… or administer little shocks to the kids when they don’t take everything out of the car that they brought into it….

  13. Megan says:

    We rented a car in San Diego a couple of years ago that had one of these gadgets in it and Craig nicknamed her Christine. If you have never read any Stephen King, that won’t make any sense, but it was in honor of a certain car by the same name.
    It was totally cool and not a little bit creepy.

  14. Melody says:

    Oh, a Honda Hussy! I LOVE THAT! I am also totally jealous. Not for the van, I love my van so much that I’ve told the man to just sign us up for “Overhaulin” when it looks like it might die, cause I don’t want a different van…ever…BUT I will also now have to leave instructions for Foose and the gang to include that Nav-System thingy…do you think it could direct the kids to um, stop fighting, and BE QUIET?!?! If so, I’m TOTALLY on board!

  15. Kara says:

    Ooh, I’m so jealous! I really want a new Honda Odyssey with all the bells and whistles instead of my old 2001 Ford Windstar that has a sliding door won’t unlock.

  16. LadyBug Crossing says:

    LOL!! Mom and Dad have a navigational system. They call her Gabby Gertie. Dad loves to mess with her – he deliberately goes the wrong way to see what she’ll do. She’s always sooo calm.
    Enjoy!
    BTW: Our Hondas are the best cars ever – no hassle. No fuss. No breaking. Just wonderful!

  17. Mandy says:

    You are TOO funny! No, really, it should be illegal, because you’ve injured my stomach from all the laughing. Hm … or maybe you’re just a really great ab routine …
    My friend and I rented a car once with a nav system and we’d never used one before. We were so flustered. We kept talking to “her” as if she could be reasoned with: “We can’t take that freeway at this hour! It’ll be totally backed up because of the baseball game!” Or, when she told us to turn but we couldn’t see the street she meant, we started yelling, “Where is it?! What are you talking about?! It’s not there!”
    Ah, it’s a brave new world, hm?

  18. Tonia says:

    Don’t want to burst your bubble but the GPS can get you into trouble. My husband used it to get from LaGuardia airport to New Jersey once and it sent him straight down Broadway (through Times Square) at midnight. Not exactly the drive he had in mind!
    Oh, and for the previous commenter, AI is “artificial intelligence.” In my previous life as a software consultant, it was definitely a big deal. πŸ™‚
    P.S. Love the new look, but I still miss the dryer art you used to use.

  19. Kelly at Love Well says:

    My inner rebel likes to disobey the commands given by said GPS, just to watch it reconfigure. The voice always sounds a tad more stern to me afterwards. But hey — I’m the driver! Wadda gonna do, Ms. Computer Voice?

  20. Dawn says:

    I’m a long time reader but first time poster. We have a 2000 Honda Odyssey we bought used a couple of years ago. It has a Nav system, but we have not upgraded, so it still has maps from 2000. It does a great job, but gets confused where there is a new road they don’t recognize. But I still think some day it is going to say. “EXCUSE me can you not tell you are driving in the middle of a field. GET ON THE ROAD PLEASE!” Luckily, it just keeps recalculating and does not say a thing.

  21. Cyndee says:

    I have a Honda pilot with most of the bells and whistles, but no navigation system. I am sort of afraid of that – I would lose my job as map women if that happened.
    I have been a Honda loyalist all my life, my first car was a honda (beautiful gold 1976 hatchback). I had a citation (slowtation) once and replaced the transmission twice. Then I had a 1986 honda civic that literally ran when it was broken. I think that you made a great choice!
    Enjoy the “new” car – what fun!

  22. mcewen says:

    My car has female GPS too. My husband [techy/gadget guy] installed his own version in his car along with a suped up stereo system. Occasionally I borrow his car but his ‘female’ isn’t anything like as nice as mine, I really don’t like her one little bit.
    Mine is polite – ‘take a U-turn…….if possible,’ in her soft breathy dulcet tones.
    His one – 50 decibels of STOPPPPP!

  23. Cyndee says:

    I have a Honda pilot with most of the bells and whistles, but no navigation system. I am sort of afraid of that – I would lose my job as map women if that happened.
    I have been a Honda loyalist all my life, my first car was a honda (beautiful gold 1976 hatchback). I had a citation (slowtation) once and replaced the transmission twice. Then I had a 1986 honda civic that literally ran when it was broken. I think that you made a great choice!
    Enjoy the “new” car – what fun!

  24. The Pumkin Patch says:

    Unless it’s I’m forced, I will never drive anything but a Honda. My first car was an Accord and I now drive a 03 Odyssey…I LOVE IT!!! Not to mention, they do get great gas mileage and they do drive forever. My MIL just sold her 91 accord that had almost 300,000 miles on it. Congrats!

  25. Cyndee says:

    I have a Honda pilot with most of the bells and whistles, but no navigation system. I am sort of afraid of that – I would lose my job as map women if that happened.
    I have been a Honda loyalist all my life, my first car was a honda (beautiful gold 1976 hatchback). I had a citation (slowtation) once and replaced the transmission twice. Then I had a 1986 honda civic that literally ran when it was broken. I think that you made a great choice!
    Enjoy the “new” car – what fun!

  26. Lisa says:

    I told my husband that I refuse to buy a navagational system for my vehicle. I really don’t like appliances smarter than I am, and I truly despise one that nags or tries to boss me around.
    It helps that I am a pretty good navigator and am rarely lost πŸ™‚

  27. Karen says:

    Wowza! That is so cool! We have an Odyssey too but it’s a few years old. We really love it. It definitely doesn’t tell me where to go, though. What I wouldn’t give for GPS when I yard sale . . .
    Congrats new owner! Will you be posting pictures of it? I promise not to cut and paste it into compromising positions on my p*rn blog.

  28. emily says:

    my parents in law have a new van w/a GPS – and it is sweet.
    and i just have to add that we have a honda (accord, but still, a honda), and it is going strong at 135,000 miles. we keep taking care of it, and it keeps taking care of us. πŸ™‚
    congrats on the new car!

  29. emily says:

    my parents in law have a new van w/a GPS – and it is sweet.
    and i just have to add that we have a honda (accord, but still, a honda), and it is going strong at 135,000 miles. we keep taking care of it, and it keeps taking care of us. πŸ™‚
    congrats on the new car!

  30. Melessa says:

    Someday, I might email you for more Honda info as we are contemplating a similar purchase. DH’s car has a GPS and sometimes…I argue with it. (“Oh yeah, you just think that’s the right way because you didn’t grow up here-I DID and we’re driving the way I WANT to go.”) Just so you don’t feel funny about that later on.

  31. missy says:

    We just got a portable gps unit last night that mounts into the car. We took it on a test drive and decided to see what would happen if we didn’t turn when she (the voice lady)told us to. I swear she got annoyed with us! You could just hear the annoyance in her voice as she said “Reconfiguring directions”. We were cracking up! Its so funny how quickly that voice becomes real and you start to hold a conversation with it.
    Have fun with the new van!! And don’t be afraid to tell the voice lady to mind her business!

  32. Faerylandmom says:

    We had a 2001 Odyssey for about a year before someone smashed into it at 40mph from behind. Nice of them, huh? However, I’m not a gadget gal, so ours was pretty basic. I L-O-V-E-D it though. And you’re right…that Honda will last you forever. Then, when you sell it, you’ll get more for it than just about any other minivan the same age. Goooood stuff.

  33. Thea says:

    LOL!! An old coworker had an automatic starter on her car and all I could ever think was “oh, that didn’t end well in ‘Christine'”…

  34. Sarah says:

    That is too scary…maybe as it gets older it will have a Hal (2001 Space Odessey) moment and develop car dementia.

  35. Sarah says:

    sorry spelling ‘odyssey’ is it? I just noticed one of your other comments, is it an Odyssey? You realise I meant the Sci-fi film with the mad psychotic computer. If you car is an Odyssey that would be too much of a scary coincidence LOL. Call it Hal.

  36. jenn says:

    i am desperate need of a navigational system myself. i can get lost going to the market down the street and around the corner. i’ve used the excuse of ‘just moved to the area’ but after 8 years perhaps that doesn’t really count anymore :O) enjoy your new car! and the hussy that lives inside it! if only it was a genie….
    ps i tagged you for 7 random things over at my blog – hope you can join in the fun!

  37. Melanie says:

    My in-laws have an Odyssey. They named the nav system Dianna after the nicest, most patient woman they know.
    Notice they didn’t name her Melanie! LOL

  38. Diatribal says:

    I have a Toyota Sienna w/Nav System. We call ours “Courtney”. We LOVE Courtney. Don’t know how we ever lived without her.
    Enjoy your new van!!

  39. Marian says:

    Just marvelling here that someone would put a device that requires QUIET to work properly in a MINI-VAN!
    In any case, congratulations!

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