This post continues my journey through France – you may want to read the previous post first (if you haven’t already) here.
Here I am, still on my lengthy journey south through France. We had been going for a couple of hundred miles and were now approaching Paris. This was always going to be the one part of the journey where SALLY (the Sat Nav) was going to come into her own. We certainly would not be ignoring her this time. It was also approaching six in the morning, and I really wanted to be south of Paris by six a.m., so despite my obvious tiredness, all my concentration was directed towards SALLY.
The particular brand of Sat Nav I purchased doesn’t just tell you to turn left or right in X hundred yards; it actually gives you the road name as well. This is great because you know you have taken the correct turning. It was certainly great in the UK because, apart from anything else, in the UK one knows where to look for a street name; one knows what a typical street sign looks like; but in France, all it did was cause a certain amount of laughter at a time when concentration was needed.
Poor SALLY may speak wonderful English, but when it comes to French, her pronunciation is worse than someone in their first year of studying the language at school. It just made her directions totally inaudible. She may as well have been speaking any of the languages from Star Wars or Star Trek. I needed subtitles!
Fortunately, SALLY came with subtitles! That is each verbal instruction was accompanied by an on screen transcript of what she had just said. So every time she gave me an instruction, I had to look at the screen to see what road she was actually saying and I would defy anyone to be able to translate what she said. There I was, negotiating my way round the Péripherique (the ring road round Paris); dodging the crazy French drivers crossing lanes at will and trying to look at a small screen for directions.
And finally when SALLY gave me the one road name which she could pronounce because it was just a single letter followed by a number, the exit to it was closed! So I had to resort to the old fashioned method of navigation using a map and looking at road signs, hoping I would recognise the direction I wanted.
Fortunately, having studied the route in the comfort of my own home before I set off on a good old fashioned map and Google, I was able to come off at the next exit and follow the signs until SALLY caught up with where we were and took over again.
This got me thinking about changing the settings to the male voice.
Would that really work? After all, men are not renowned for asking for directions when lost. They always feel they can find their own way. So if I set the Sat Nav to a man, would I still be going round the Péripherique now? Or would I have gone all the way round until I realised I had passed several exits more than once? Or would I have been able to get through Paris quicker because the man would have known that that road was closed and would have plotted a different route in the first place?
Keeping the setting to the female voice just meant I was going to be nagged every time I ignored her instructions. And would she sulk if I did it too often. And just how much time would she add to my journey if I did refuse to follow her instructions? I found myself answering SALLY every time she gave me a new instruction just to keep her happy. 😉
Finally we got beyond Paris. She Who Must Be Obeyed was asleep, as were both Small Persons in the back of the car. This meant I only had the Sat Nav to talk to. And as I had kept the settings on the female voice, SALLY, did that mean I was cheating on my wife?
I think I had become a bit tired and my mind was struggling to focus on the road!
Still only six hundred miles to go!