The Way to Wal*mart

Siri tried to assassinate me last weekend. Perhaps it wasn’t Siri; perhaps it was Miri, her evil and conniving older sister, who haunts the depths of GPS systems with a District of Columbia street map, and a list of all the one-way streets in America.

My family recently got our first GPS system. Naturally, we packed it into the trunk. At some point, driving from Richmond to Atlanta, my father decided that he had a desperate need of lunch meat and chips. Since we were in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen a Wal*mart sign for the last fifteen minutes, we brought the GPS out, and searched for Wal*mart. There was one 5.6 miles away. (See, we were really in the middle of nowhere.) My brother selected it. “Calculating….” Miri mused. “Turn right NOW!” Passing an exit, my mother screeched to a halt, bounced over the dividing reflectors and onto the exit ramp. “Where now?” “Turn right in 0.2 miles.” Miri said sweetly. She proceeded to guide us to another highway, down several back roads, and after a half hour finally found a Wal*mart

But first we had to get into Wal*mart. “Turn right, now.” said Miri. “What, where?” asked Mom. “Turn right, now.” reminded Miri. “NOW!” she insisted with enthusiasm worthy of a Wal*mart publicist. “That’s where it is!” my mother exclaimed as she passed the turnoff. “Recalculating….” Miri sulked. My mother finally turned. “Turn right in 0.1 miles” said Miri. “I’m not sure we need instructions for getting into the parking lot.” “You never know,” replied Dad.

We were lucky to find our chips. Miri had delivered us to the central chip-buying location in South Carolina at the height of the Superbowl madness. “If you ever wondered what Wal*mart would look like after a crazed mob went through it,” my brother said, “This is it.” “I’m not sure the mob has left yet,” I replied.

After Miri realized that we were not bound to follow any of her directions, and that Wal*mart had not killed us she sulkily directed us back to the highway. This time it took us a mere five minutes to arrive on the highway. While I am grateful that Miri deigned to show us the way back from Wal*mart that we could not have otherwise found, I am conscious that on our own, we could not possibly found such a circuitous way to Wal*mart.

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