My closest friend in Los Angeles is the GPS lady on my iPhone. For those first few days, I couldn’t get anywhere without her. I clung to her, I relied on her voice, I trusted everything she told me. I was like a young child with a parent on the first day of school– I know if GPS lady wore a skirt, I would bury my face in it, cling to her legs, and beg her not to leave my side. If I missed a turn, went down the wrong boulevard, she never got frustrated. She simply rerouted and got me back on course. Sometimes I found myself wishing she could say more. More than “Turn right on La Cienega.” On long drives, I had her voice to keep me company, but wouldn’t it have been nice if we could laugh together at all those crazy LA drivers? I wished she could give me advice (her voice– albeit automated– is still smooth and authoritative). If she could talk back, I definitely would have teased her for how she pronounces “destination.” She says “des-TOE–nation” and it’s just the cutest little thing ever.
But now I’m beginning week three in Los Angeles and I’m learning my way around a little more. My heart doesn’t leap into my chest every time I pull my car onto the road and I’m not as tentative with directions. I’m trying to push myself to navigate on my own, so I don’t use my GPS as much. But I miss my friend. I miss having her voice by my side as I begin to find a place for myself in this city. We felt like partners in crime; hacking through the LA smog and traffic together, determined to find that damn Trader Joe’s if it killed us, and now. Well, now I kind of feel like the Lone Ranger.
It’s funny– for the last few days, when I have used my GPS, it has been a little out of whack. The visuals are okay, but GPS lady’s voice navigation hasn’t been keeping up with the map. It could be that I need to update both my phone and my Google maps app. Or. Maybe my buddy feels a little abandoned. Maybe this new separation is hard for her, too.
I’m on my way to class and even though I know how to get there, I think I’ll use my GPS to guide me. I like her voice and I like what it reminds me of– new places, new friends, and those unlikely beats of connection that keep you going.