Around the Country in 5 Days
I’ve just returned from a tour of Australia, with schools visits and more in and around Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Thank you to all the wonderful students and teachers I met along the way.
I also should tell you that I fell in love on the trip. I’m a married man and I knew it was wrong but I just couldn’t resist … I didn’t get her name, and I never saw her face, but she has the voice of a robotic angel. Her name was GPS and she helped me get all around Melbourne. I also fell out of love very quickly when GPS tried to kill me by telling me to drive off a bridge. I think she knew she belonged to the hired car and no doubt she didn’t want to live without me … it’s terribly romantic. I should tell the story from the beginning.
It wasn’t love at first sight; in fact we started off very much on the wrong foot. Her instructions on where to exit a multi-laned, multi-exited round-about were confusing to say the least. She also had irritating habits, like every time I made a wrong turn, she would say ‘recalculating’, and while she had a way of saying everything in the same robotic monotone, I could sense the annoyance in her voice. She had to do a lot of ‘recalculating’ in those early moments. But a few illegal u-turns later and we were off on our road trip.
Oh the laughs we had, the songs, the sights … we got to our destination right on time, and following that we got through to our next destination with not one single wrong turn and with plenty of time to spare. That’s when I knew it was love – how had I existed for so many years without her? Why had I settled for complicated maps; maps requiring more eyes and hands than a normal driver has?
But following this honeymoon period, as the day darkened and our final time together approached, things soured. The city of Melbourne is not the greatest place to drive, especially when you know it as well as you know your weird cousin Gertrude who eats flies, but hey, that’s her life. That’s when GPS tried to drive me off a bridge, and kept turning me into circles. It’s just lucky I rarely do what I’m told! I had to switch her off in the end and it was heart breaking. I thought she might burst back into life like HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey, but she didn’t. I found my final destination on my own, belting out the lyrics to ‘all by myself’ alone.
We never spoke again. Perhaps it’s for the best. There’s only room in my life for one person regularly telling me where to go … and she doesn’t ‘recalculate’ when I make mistakes, she just shakes her head and smiles knowingly, muttering ‘idiot’ under her breath. Also you can’t turn her off. Now that’s true love.