Every year, my mother, cousins, and I spend Mother’s Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, specifically LBI. Although LBI stands for “Long Beach Island”, I always call it “Large Bowel Irritation” because of the amount of stress and anxiety that goes into this vacation, especially the hour-and-a-half car ride from our home in Central Jersey.
“Okay,” my aunt said, as we were leaving, “So vhen you get to dah main road on dah island-”
I interrupted. “Don’t worry, I have a GPS.”
“Vell, it gets very confusing, so you have to make sure to look at the John…Ron…Surf…”
“I’m bringing the GPS, don’t worry.”
“Yes, the…Don…Juan, um, you make a left at the…Ron Paul Surf Shop.”
“It’s Ron Jon. And don’t worry, I have a GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM. So no matter where we are, we can find-”
“Yes, uh-huh, let me draw you a map.”
After about thirty minutes of map-drawing, agonizing, and direction-correcting, we finally got to the car. I plugged the GPS in and waited for the stupid thing to find a satellite signal.
“Vhat is that, a rah-dio?” my mom asked. “Play some romantic music, none of this other crap you listen to.”
“No, Anyu, it’s a GPS. I was trying to explain to your sister that-”
“Do you have Roy Orbison? I vant to listen to Roy Orbison.”
“I don’t have a stereo, mom, someone broke in and stole it, remember?” I pointed to the gaping hole in my dashboard.
“Then why don’t you listen to music on this portable radio instead?”
“It’s not a portable radio, mom, it’s a-”
“Turn LEFT onto CEDARS LANE,” the GPS said in a robotic female voice.
The entire car fell silent.
My mom raised her eyebrows. “That’s our street!”
The machine continued to chirp orders, “Immediately turn RIGHT onto STELTON ROAD.”
“Oh, my God, Stelton Road…I think it’s taking us to the highway!”
“Yes, Anyu. I programmed this thing to get to LBI, so it’s giving us directions.”
As I turned the wheel, the GPS said, “In 1.2 miles, turn LEFT onto highway 287 south.”
“287! I can’t believe it said 287!” my mom shouted.
“Yes, um, just so you know, it’s gonna say every street on the route to LBI, so, uh, don’t get too excited.”
“Vhy didn’t you TELL US dat you had dis vonderful machine?”
“I told your sister. I told you. I shouted it from the highest rooftop! What do you need, a tattoo on my head?”
“Stephie, don’t leave dis in the car, or dah robbers are gonna take it again, just like they took your stereo because you left it in the car.”
“The stereo was built into the car. I couldn’t exactly take it with me on adventures.”
“No, I see you it sometimes, you carry your car stereo with you. I see it, in your ears!”
“That’s an iPod.”
“Oh. So, don’t play the music too loud in your ears. You’ll hurt your drums!”
Eventually, the GPS brought us to LBI, but the saga didn’t stop there. (to be continued)