He’s cheating on me.
He has a new girlfriend and she communicates to him via a little box plugged into the cigarette lighter. My services such as they were are no longer required.
I sit with the road atlas on my lap, ready to catch her out and just as I’m nodding off her strident voice alerting himself to an autoroute exit brings me round with a start.
After some initial teething problems in the relationship – a 20 mile detour on a ten mile journey close to home, probably operator error – I have been forsaken. I can’t argue with her, touch her or question her judgment. Her clipped British accent and penchant for being right is getting on my nerves. She is even correcting my pronunciation of French villages and towns.
I hate her.
Now and again, clearly enunciating her t’s she says, “Lost satellite reception.” Not so clever then is she? I know exactly where we are and where we’re going but if he wants to dally with her he can suffer the consequences.
The fact that he is carrying on with her right under my nose and in my car is just too much.
He thinks it’s funny.
If we weren’t in France and in my car I’d get out and leave them to it.
However . . . .
She didn’t cover herself in glory in Italy. As we approached the French/Italian border I made a show of closing the French road atlas and slipping it beside my seat.
“You’re on your own now, matey, you and your new girlfriend.” Himself looked alarmed. Though he’d been taking directions from her exclusively she obviously didn’t inspire him with confidence.
A spectacular journey through the Alps and under Mt. Blanc – a 7 mile tunnel in a series of 17 tunnels – came as a major surprise as no route planning had taken place.
Then she really messed with him.
She insisted he come off the autostrade, go in circles, make several u-turns, attempt some mountain climbing, pass under the same cable car three times and pay two unnecessary eight euro tolls, robbing us of all our coins.
Just as we were both feeling quite frantic – we’d many more miles to go but which way now? – I pulled out my secret weapon, a map of Italy, and resumed my relationship with my husband. I’d had my doubts all along about the two of them and had highlighted our route on the map before leaving home.
We zig-zagged back down the mountain, where we’d had a nice view of the autostade below, and headed east once more.
I turned the stupid woman off and stuffed her in the glove box.
I didn’t gloat. That’s unlike me but himself was looking strained and it seemed only fair to keep my mouth shut.
At our final destination, the seaside resort of Porto Sant’Elpidio, I was forced to make up with her in an effort to find our hotel. She invited us to complete our journey at a derelict building and was banished once more to the glove box.
On the return journey she “lost satellite reception” in Bologna, a city of 400,000, all seemingly on our stretch of road and fighting for space in our lane. Several major roads intersect in Bologna and they are designated by international, national and local numbers which quickly become meaningless when panicked. The only way to find our way through was to look for major cities on our route, all of which were on the other side of the fold on the map.
Have you ever opened a full-size country map in the passenger seat of a compact car? It blocked out the sun and the road ahead and terminated the peaceful spell in the car.
GPS – Gloriously Pointless System
We made it back to the EuroTunnel but I lost my dog.