Yesterday afternoon, I loaded up the tour bus (i.e., minivan) with guitars, gear, iPod and a cello. Genial cellist and all-around cordial gentleman, Hitoshi Yamaguchi, offered to tag along with me for a show I had in Pinson, AL last night. As I’ve grown weary of the long, lonely hours of solo trips, I was all too thankful for not only the company, but the musical sonic glue as well. For this trip, however, I would not require the person sitting in the so-called navigator’s chair to actually do any navigating thanks in large part to this year’s Christmas present from my wife, a GPS unit.
In general, I’m pretty solid with directions and driving, but it sure seems easier to have someone, especially someone speaking with utmost confidence and certainty, to calmly command me to turn hither, thither or to continue forth X number of miles into the vast blue yonder of unfamiliar terrain. Or, if I choose to ignore the commands or take a detour, that very same voice politely recalculates the route and proceeds to guide me anew with alternate directions. The gizmo has not let me down yet.
This particular GPS has several vocal options available, anything from one very sterile, digitized voice, a clear and concise male voice, or that of a British woman. I chose the latter. Can you blame me? What shall I say, I’m a fan of the Brits. It is hard to imagine that a mere 150-200 years ago, this fledgling America and the British Empire, from whence we parted ways, wickedly and violently despised one another and were sworn enemies, which is too bad. Time heals.
I must confess that I absolutely love my mobile GPS. I also confess that I have a crush on the woman – or at least her voice – inside the GPS who, with tonal silk in her throat, guides me to destinations both near and far. The world is a strange place, yes?
My new British navigator – I hereby dub thee, Genevieve – has been a delight. On this particular trip she calmly, but firmly, proceeded to guide Hitoshi and myself down narrow, pothole-riddled Alabama minifares I never would have suspected existed, but Lady Genevieve delivered us safe and sound both to the venue and back to my front door again without error or blemish. Though I had my moments of doubt (“You’ve GOT to be kidding me. Turn here?”), as compared with the online directions I printed out just in case (which would have added an additional half-hour to our drive, I might add), Genevieve surely, in my mind’s eye, is some sort of robed, gilded queen seated and fed like royalty upon her digital throne exalted inside the sealed confines of my GPS. If not, she sure ought to be. I’m glad we Yanks are close allies with our English kinsmen today, and can enjoy their wonderful accents and inflections. It’s good to be kin. And it’s good to be playing music again. Cheerio.
Eric Peters, affectionately called “Pappy” by those who love him, is the grand old curmudgeon of the Rabbit Room. But his small stature and often quiet presence belie a giant talent. He’s a songwriter of the first order, and a catalogue of great records bears witness to it. His last album, Birds of Relocation, blew minds and found its way onto “year’s best” lists all over the country. When he’s not painting, trolling bookstores, or dabbling in photography, he’s touring the country in support of his latest record, Far Side of the Sea.