Avoid riding along when ‘the ladies’ squabble over best routes

Burt's Eye View

When it comes to routes and road trips, I memorize my map in advance and stick to the plan.

Terry is the adventurous one — mostly because she loves jousting with “The Lady.”

The Lady speaks to us from the GPS app on my smartphone. The Lady always knows where I’m at, knows where I want to go, and talks me through the journey turn by turn.

Terry prefers to taunt The Lady. “Is smoke rolling out of your cellphone yet? Or should I pull a U-turn here?”

Hardly has the battle between the ladies in my life made me more of a nervous wreck than our last trip into Winchester, Va.

Over the years, visits with relatives took us around or through Winchester, Va. — around if I drove; through if Terry was at the wheel.

For some reason, even after studying my paper maps and Google directions, I could never navigate the center of this charming old town full of 18th century brick buildings.

Terry drove it like she was born there:

“There’s the restaurant I want to stop at some time. Oh, this is my favorite street. Hmm… I haven’t seen those buildings before.”

That’s when I’d grip the dashboard. “Are we lost? I told you we should have taken the bypass.”

She’d laugh. “No. We’re just seeing new sites. Ah, there’s the road I wanted.”

I figured all this angst was over now that we had The Lady on board. So when we approached Winchester last month, I squeezed my phone, studied the screen and listened to The Lady’s every carefully enunciated direction: “In one-quarter mile, turn right on South Braddock Street.”

Terry ignored her. “I’ve been on Braddock Street before. I think she should have sent us up Louden Street.”

“But The Lady said…”

Suddenly, Terry whipped onto Henry Avenue. I cringed. The Lady recalibrated the route:

“In a half mile, turn left onto Lambden Avenue.” But Terry yanked the wheel onto another street.

“What are you doing?” I waved the phone. “The Lady didn’t say to turn yet.”

“This is Burton Avenue,” Terry said. “I’m partial to the name Burton. Let’s see where it goes.”

I whimpered. “We’re not getting home tonight, are we? Say, isn’t it my turn to drive?”

It wasn’t. We discovered some great new places in Winchester. And we got home pretty much right on time.

“You need to know which lady to trust,” Terry said.

Once, we asked The Lady for help home from a place we visited a couple hours away. When we got back to familiar territory, I reached to click out of GPS mode.

“Leave it on,” Terry said. “I like arguing with her.”

A quarter mile from home, Terry grinned and turned the wrong way. “What’s The Lady doing now?”

The Lady remained silent.

“I think I finally got to her,” Terry said.

She made another turn. The jilted Lady didn’t speak.

Terry sighed, turned around and headed for home. Once she turned into the drive, The Lady spoke: “In 150 feet, turn right and you will have arrived at your destination.”

“Ha,” Terry said. “I got her so riled, she doesn’t know we’re already home.”

Through our windshield, I noted that our trash can sat about a half a football field away and to the right. I didn’t say anything. I don’t need a map to tell me to steer clear when my ladies take left turns.

— Give Cole directions at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.