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7. Mai 2008, 19:12 Uhr, Geschrieben von Miriam Meckel

GPS revenge

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Here we go: the long and winding road might stay long and winding since Obama took North Carolina and Hillary managed to squeeze a plus of about 20.000 voters in her ballots to take Indiana. It’s a very exciting endgame (reminding indeed of the Beckett piece in various ways). So my co-fellow and friend Chak Hee from Korea and I have followed the different campaigns for several days.

Yesterday we first went to a McCain event in North Carolina in the early morning (more on that later) to move on after that to Raleigh-Durham, NC, where Obama was supposed to announce victory in the evening. My goodness, we did a lot of driving these days. Luckily we had the GPS supporting us and helping us to keep track of all the different venues, events and speeches, we experienced during the days.

On our tour to Raleigh the GPS got confused as well. We were going on a freeway, the road sign pointing us to Raleigh. But the device had apparently never heard of this freeway. So we watched the little pink car on the screen, representing our real vehicle, weirdly moving off-highway. It just wasn’t able to catch up (probably due to some old software). So we decided to ignore it and went on.

The GPS turned out to be pretty obstinate and got angry at us. Over and over it told us to move somewhere else than we were supposed to go according to the street signs. I have never heard such an annoyed and abusive voice: „RECALCULATING“ the woman’s voice said repeatedly, sounding like: ‚You two little idiots are really going on my nervs! How often do I have to tell you that you are going the wrong direction, you imbeciles?‘ We nevertheless managed to arrive at the hotel.

Later that evening we wanted to join the Obama election party. We took the car to go there and entered the address into the GPS. It was dark, we didn’t have a map. And we had no idea where we were going. So we had to rely on technology (bad feeling anyhow). After I while I thought, well, that’s a pretty strange area to have a voters party. „Obama is having a party in the middle of nowhere“, I joked and we were laughing.

Some minutes later we got stuck in a dead end street, in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, everything dark, nobody on the streets and a forest in front of us. „Arriving at final adress“, the GPS said and went off. „I think it is getting back at us“, Chak Hee said. „It’s taking revenge because we ignored it the whole day.“ So we sat in the darkness both eagerly working on our PDA to access the internet and check the address. First finding: It was apparently wrong. Second finding: This wrong address was on Wikipedia. One more example you always have to double check everything that’s on there. Third finding: The same wrong address was on the website of the University we were supposed to go to. Hmh … Somebody should talk to the guy in charge for that.

Finally, we found the right address and had to go back about twelve miles. It turned out that the venue we wanted to go to was right next to our hotel. Well done … When we arrived at the University Coliseum we could watch some policemen surveilling the deconstruction of the barriers. Apparently the party was over. I drove up to a group of handsome young blacks, stopping right beside them. „HELLO“, I called trough my open side window, „we are late!“. They all burst out in laughter. „Yes, you are“, one of them said. „It was over about an hour ago.“

When I was lying in my bed later on (after I had after all squeezed a glass of wine out of the waiter though the hotel bar was also closed when we arrived there) I watched the commentators only talking about one question: When and how will Hillary withdraw after these results? Trying to fall asleep this GPS came to my mind again and again. I was lost in reverie imagining it talking to Hillary. „RECALCULATING“, it said. „Turn right and stay on route back home“.

© Miriam Meckel 2002 bis 2020