When love comes, it brings a sense of hope, possibility, and promise for the future. It comforts you like an old afghan wrapped snugly around your shoulders and a cup of chamomile tea in front of a crackling fire. Its whisper is subtle but unmistakable, like April’s breeze blowing through the windows, filling your home and heart with the spring’s sweet scent. You want to shout about it. You share that joy with those who have already found it, and wish that the uninitiated will someday experience it along with you. Liberated from the shackles of loneliness, you are confident you can accomplish anything you desire with your love beside you.
Or mounted on your windshield. So began my affair with the Garmin Nuvi 200. It started innocently enough… As they say, you always find it where you least expect it. This time, the place was South Attleboro, Massachusetts’ Circuit City. I hoped for a GPS device in my budget that would help me navigate the interstate highways from Rhode Island to Colorado. More importantly, I needed it to guide me locally once I arrived in the unfamiliar land of buffalo and big sky. What I got was much, much more.
I cannot say it was love at first sight, though. Although Garmin was the type I was looking for, I was skeptical at first. She had a tough time opening up initially… I struggled long and hard with the extra thick plastic packaging. (Why do electronics manufacturers always do that??) And she wouldn’t talk to me right off the bat. I had to be very patient while my Nuvi initialized. Only then was she willing to share herself with me. Even then, I admit I was afraid to be vulnerable. I printed out Google Maps directions for backup, reluctant to trust her completely.
Quickly though, I began to see her for what she was… a beacon in the darkness. She became my guiding light. Ever supportive, she let me know I was ok whenever I needed some encouragement, directing me calmly and accurately. She gently steered me back on course when I got derailed. Like a good friend and confidante she was my rock when I was adrift. How can I forget the time she helped me find a YMCA in Fishers, Indiana? Or the time she maintained her cool while gently letting me know a Bank of America was not to be found within a 100 mile radius of Boulder, Colorado? Then there was the time I got cocky and thought I didn’t need her and got lost on the way to work. Like a good big sister she said nothing and got me back on the correct path with authority. Most of all, she offered me answers and security in a place where I was unsure of my footing. My Nuvi was my true north.
And I was not shy about singing her praises. For the first few weeks, anyone I ran across was informed, “This thing is a lifesaver!!!”or “I’d literally be lost without it!!!” Sometimes I would show her off, “Look, see you can just ask it for ‘gas’ and it will tell you where ALL the gas stations in a 10 mile radius are!!” Mostly though I was direct in my feelings, stating simply, “I love it.” I did not know how I had lived without her. I knew only that I did not want to imagine a future without her in it.
But then I got used to her and started to take her for granted. As my friend Leah said of relationships, “The beginning is the best. Its the muffin top. The rest isn’t bad, but you eat it because its there.” I suppose I grew complacent as the novelty wore off. One might say I was even abusive. Sometimes she would think I was trying to go home when really I needed to stop at Target on the way and say “Recalculating” as I pulled into the parking lot. “SHUT UP!” I would yell.
“I thought you loved this thing.” inquired my well-meaning friend and passenger, Natalie.
“I do! But sometimes its so frustrating.”
When I calmed down I had to acknowledge the simple problem was that I failed to communicate my needs… had I let her know I wanted to go to Target my sweet Nuvi would have accomodated me without question. It was my fault entirely.
So I should not have been surprised when she left. I can’t say she physically disappeared. I could still see her sitting in her familiar spot on the windshield but inside, she was just gone. The first time I noticed was when she couldn’t acquire a satellite on the way to drop Natalie and Steve off at the airport. I attributed it to the snow storm. I just couldn’t imagine she really stopped talking to me. I wince when I think of how I made fun of her at this critical time. Apparently the last time we were really together was near Hapa Sushi… It must have been Saturday night on the way to Pearl Street. Sunday morning, no matter where I was she showed Hapa with a star and a blinking question mark. Jovially Natalie Steve and I joked “No we don’t want sushi but thanks for asking. We’re on the way to the airport!” In jest we mocked her, asking “Rainbow roll? Miso soup? Edamame?”
This morning I knew she was for real. The silent treatment was no joke. She stared at me limply with a look of Hapa and a question mark. She wouldn’t even try to find a satellite. I went back to Google Maps to find my way to an appointment. My heart dropped as I tried to cajole her every way I knew how…. I flipped every switch and pressed every button over and over to no avail. No matter how I approached her she wouldn’t speak to me.
I talked to a professional today. Actually I spoke to two… But no one could come up with a solution. We’ve agreed its best to send her back and await the receipt of a new one from the manufacturer. I know I can weather the storm. I was ok before she came into my life and I tell myself I will be ok without her. This gives me confidence. But its still hard. I will have to be strong and find my way on my own.
Love is a tender thing. I abused my precious and now I am paying the price. I only hope I can learn from my mistakes and do better next time. I will not yell at her. I may even welcome her with a waterproof case. I know I will never take my Nuvi for granted again.