Monday, March 10, 2008

Professor Minerva McGonagall, the GPS

If you’ve ever driven in Boston, you know that the street sign situation is dire, a bona fide dearth. The conventional wisdom goes that if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t belong here. I have lost count of the number of U-turns we’ve had to take.

Directionally-challenged or not, Boston will give you a run for your money. I swear that whoever the poor person was who had to enter Boston into Mapquest is now in Bellevue for a well-deserved rest.

We, however, allowing ourselves to catch up to the 21st century, have foiled Boston’s streets for the moment. Enter Professor Minerva McGonagall in a new format. If you’re a Harry Potter person, you know who she is: Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She’s been around the school forever, knows its, and its students’, ins and outs.

Professor Minerva McGonagall can always be counted on to give clear directions to anyone who asks her. That’s why we named our new TomTom One GPS device after her. She even knows how to get around Boston.

At the end of last week, we took her out for her maiden voyage to a place we knew how to get to, just to see if she’d take us the way we normally went. She did, but some of her directions were a little woolly {British English for unclear}. What we would have considered a turn, and Mapquest would have called a slight right, Minerva considered straight ahead. Oh well.

In Boston, even with a GPS device, one still has to know where one is going. Sort of anyway. No matter. The thing that cracked us both up was “disobeying” her directions, watching the device scramble for a new route when we did, and correcting our course after we finished our side trip.

One thing I get to do today is find a British-accented voice for our Professor. I’m hoping there’s a wonderful Maggie Smith-like one. I don’t know yet if our Professor will be quite as acerbic as Maggie’s Minerva, but it doesn’t matter. We had so much fun projecting her outrage on ourselves as we drove that it made the whole thing worth it.

“Can’t you be bothered to follow simple directions?” we howled. Each of us took turns playing the Professor’s well-meant corrective self. The thing I liked best though, really, was the idea that someone was in the car with me, wanting to get me where I wanted to go. And, that if I took a wrong turn, she has the capability of correcting my course.

Wouldn’t it be swell if we all had a Professor Minerva McGonagall within? I think so.

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