SOMETIMES YOU HAVE
TO GO YOUR OWN WAY
We had a huge fight in the car the other day. As is often the
case, it was over directions. I wanted to go one way, she wanted to go the
other way. I'm sorry to say it got ugly.
It's put a strain on our relationship, and I'm not sure we
can recover. We had just begun to bond, and I was feeling a surge of love,
and then it was all shattered.
It all began in Half Moon Bay on Friday evening at rush hour.
I was driving back to our home in Marin County. I knew the way, obviously,
but since it was rush hour I decided I should be a man of the 21st century
and check the traffic.
It was pretty much my first date with Waze, the navigational
app for smartphones that is all the rage. I'd always used Google Maps, and
we had a stable but unspectacular relationship. My Millenial children
urged me to download Waze, which is supposedly a more detailed
I punched in my address and my new love sweetly told me it
would take an hour and 10 minutes to get home. And then she told me to not
go over the hill to 280 but to take the coastal route through Pacifica to
avoid the freeway traffic.
How lovely. The two of us (the Waze woman and me) took a
leisurely drive along the coast on a romantic evening, the waves crashing
, the sun dropping in the sky….we were definitely beginning to bond.
Then it got better. Climbing out of Pacifica, she sweetly
told me to take Skyline Boulevard along the majestic sand dunes, avoiding
280 altogether, and then hooking up with Sunset Boulevard, eliminating the
chaos of 19th Avenue as well.
I was rapidly falling in love. I was born and raised in San
Francisco, and know the streets. I went to Lowell High School, which is in
the Sunset. This was my neighborhood, but I might have mindlessly headed
down 19th Avenue if it wasn't for my sweet talking partner. She knew me.
She took me through Golden Gate Park, letting me know
the names of streets (Crossover Drive, Traverse Drive) I'd used for
decades but never identified. I knew where she was taking me, and I smiled
at her knowingly and affectionately.
We were taking one of my prized shortcuts when the regular
bridge approach is jammed---25th Avenue and then through Sea Cliff and the
Presidio. A gorgeous drive. I couldn't have been happier with my new love.
As we came out of the park and saw the long stretch of 25th
Avenue in front of us, things changed. Let me try and recreate our
conversation as I remember it:
Waze Woman: In 400 feet, take a right on Fulton Street.
Waze Woman: Take a right on Fulton Street.
Me: No. I'm going down 25th Avenue, like we intended.
Waze Woman: You just missed Fulton Street. In 900 feet, take a
right on Balboa.
Me: I don't want to take a right on Balboa. I want to go through
Waze Woman: Now you missed Balboa, you idiot. Why aren't you
listening to me? In ¼ mile, take a right on California.
Me: I WILL NOT! YOU'RE THE IDIOT! I'm on 25th and can get to the
bridge faster and with more scenery this way.
Waze Woman: This is your last chance to obey me. In 900 feet, take
a right on California or I'll never speak to you again.
Me: YOU'RE AN ARROGANT TWIT! I AM JOE SAN FRANCISCO! I GREW UP
HERE. I'M GOING THROUGH THE PRESIDIO!
It was eerily quiet as I passed California Street. She
didn't even suggest turning right on Lake Street, knowing I wouldn't obey.
When we entered Sea Cliff, she meekly suggested turning right through the
Presidio, but she clearly wasn't happy, and neither was I.
As we approached the bridge, the silence was ominous. Our
love affair was clearly over. I could have been sympathetic and made
amends, but I was still upset. I decided to humiliate her.
She clearly didn't know the best shortcut of all, where you
turn left west of the bridge and then go through a tunnel under the toll
plaza and come up on the east side and slide into the northbound lanes.
As we went through the little tunnel, I'm pretty sure I heard
the Waze Woman say the following: "I have no idea where we are. You
are a navigational genius. I will never doubt you again."