Monday, July 5, 2010

What Else Could a Person Possibly Want in Life?

I will forever be grateful to whoever it was who first pointed out to me that when you hold your left hand straight out with your thumb sticking out, the line from your index finger to your thumb makes the shape of an "L".  It might have been a kindergarten teacher.  It also might have been something I overheard as a teenager and was relieved to finally have an easy way to tell left from right.  Either way, I still use this method to confirm that left is left.  If you catch me slightly raising my left hand in traffic, well, I'm not waving hello.  I'm making sure I am in fact about to make a left-hand turn.  With this in mind, you can imagine my dependency on the built-in navigation system in my car.  His name is Robert.  I have talked about him before here and here.  I love him. 

Another of Robert's charms is that he can be voice activated.  You can verbally control the thermostat, radio and navigation system and Robert will talk back to confirm that he's adjusted the temperature to 75 or changed the radio station per your instructions.  I don't use this feature very often because more often than not, Robert just says he didn't understand and asks me to repeat myself and, quite frankly, I have enough issues with the men in my life not listening the first time so I don't really need to get into it with Robert on a daily basis.  However, the children in my life, my little cousins, are obsessed with Robert and love to tell him what to do and have him talk back.

I did not realize the depths of this love and the elevated status it gave me in their eyes until one day I was driving with my cousin Kevin.  He was probably 10 or 11 at the time.  He was in a foul mood and had been stomping around my grandma's house, mouthing off and slamming doors.  I happened to also be in a foul mood that day so I thought it might be a good idea for the two grumps to go for a drive and give everyone else in the house a break.  We drove for a while, going nowhere in particular, and I just let Kev vent.  He was ranting and raving about his mom never letting him go anywhere, nobody understood him, his life was so hard and how he wished he could just grow up already because then everything would be great.  Typical 11-year-old stuff.  But because I was feeling pretty crappy that day too, I decided he needed to know the truth.

"You know, Kev, life doesn't just get better because you're a grown-up.  I'm a grown-up and I can be unhappy sometimes.  Sometimes life sucks no matter how old you are." 

He turned to me with an absolutely disgusted look on his face.  "What do you have to be unhappy about?!?  You HAVE A TALKING CAR!"

I tried not to laugh.  Thank you 11-year-old for putting everything in perspective.  I'm a grown-up with a talking car.  Life must be pretty damn good.

That was a couple years ago, but still, when I'm having a rough day I hear Kevin's voice in my head screaming, "You HAVE A TALKING CAR!" and that's all it takes to make me laugh.  I can't wait until he grows up and starts bitching about bills, or his girlfriend, or not being able to figure out what to do with his life and I can hopefully return the favor and help him realize that everything is relative.  One person's talking car is another person's answer to everything wrong with the world. 

In the meantime though, I have a talking car and he can't leave the house without permission.  So, yeah, I guess I see his point. 


Joe said...

I didn't catch that. what were you saying about the men in your life not listening? and seriously, you have a talking car