I have a GPS in my car.
I have the voice command option set to Karen, who is happy to direct me around the roads using a British English dictionary for pronunciation, using an Australian accent. (What’s with that? We don’t have an accent – right?)
I have other options of course. Apart from a variety of multilingual voices, the other primary option is Lee, Karen’s partner in crime, who also speaks with an ‘Australian’ accent.
His voice gives me the irrits.
I found myself wanting to throw him out the window when he would pompously instruct me to make a U turn now in the middle of a six lane highway. No sense at all. Besides, there is something quite condescending about being told where to go by a male, even if he is virtual and holds the map in his hands. Anyone worth five cents knows males don’t use maps and rely on instinct to get lost find their way around, so not only does Lee irritate me but he is just not trustworthy.
The Sparky owns a Navman. He chooses a female voice too. (See? Even he doesn’t trust an Aussie male with a map). His Lolita does more than Karen, she beeps at traffic lights and speed cameras. He knows it’s illegal for Lolita to do this, but he can’t figure out how to turn her off (I could offer something here, but won’t) and anyway, being female she is clever enough to read maps AND watch the lights.
My mother has a Tomtom. She prefers a male companion, and her and Tom (of course) have found their way around tricky parts of the State together on many a dark and windy night. She says, though, he sulks when you don’t do exactly what he tells you to. He just stops speaking to her and stares glumly through the illumination screen until he’s ready to add another direction from his helpful list.
A friend’s husband recently purchased a new car with a built in GPS. The first time my friend was allowed to drive it herself, was on a day trip to a country town, transporting girls to basketball finals. Her teen daughter, sitting in the passenger seat was struggling to get the righteous British accented Lloyd to accept the arrival destination, so she rang home to get husband to explain how to get Lloyd working properly. The British voice refused to co-operate no matter what input was given, and the husband was finding himself frustrated as he was getting feedback from the friend, the teen daughter and the righteous Lloyd, all down the telephone line.
In desperation, teenager re-programed the GPS to an Australian accented Mary, who calmly tells all three of them exactly where to go. This is then followed by series of alarm bells from the GPS. Husbands’ voice comes over the phone line: “And tell your mother to stop speeding“. It seems that this Aussie Mary cannot only read maps, watch lights, look for cameras, but also has the ability to keep to the speed limit.
We’ve been doing that for years.
Navigation systems. Soon, they’ll be driving the car, and we’ll be able to sleep through the ride and arrive at our destination unharried. And we can get back to telling each other where to go.