My good friend, Vera, once told me that the surest way to divorce court was by way of the wallpaper store. “Never hang wallpaper with your husband” was her rule.
I had my own rule of places to avoid: The car.
I realize that, in the course of a 35 year marriage, it is sometimes necessary to drive together. But, almost every time Joel and I drive to an unfamiliar place, we would have what one might kindly call “a discussion.”
And then, one day, we didn’t. We had rented a car that came equipped with GPS. We drove from our home to JFK airport – our actual destination — without one single wrong turn or unkind word.
So, being of sound mind, we went out and bought a GPS immediately upon return from our trip. Unfortunately, the one we bought couldn’t even find our house from a mile away. In retrospect, maybe it just wanted a challenge. Or, just maybe, we had purchased a cheap device.
So, we bought a better one. And that one was more reliable.
However, nirvana was too good to last. My wonderful husband is meticulous about details and, having already experienced some unplanned side trips, he understandably wants validation that we are on the right path.
So, traveling with Joel is sort of like studying Talmud. Let me explain. In the middle of every page of Talmud sits an original source text. Surrounding that block of text is discussion and debate in the form of centuries of rabbinic opinions recorded from oral tradition.
Our travel discussions are similar, up to a point. Although we both agree on the destination, Joel wants multiple opinions on how to reach it. So, our trips invariably include commentary by mapquest, google, the AAA map, and road signs – not to mention the woman with the British accent telling us where to go. And, since Joel wants me to pay attention to every single one of the “rabbis,” I get increasingly confused, we sometimes take a wrong turn, and the decibel level in the car gets progressively higher.
GPS is truly a great addition to modern life, but if I were at all technologically capable, I would add a couple features. First would be one in which the British lady tells us where to turn off to find a decent sandwich, a clean bathroom, or a gas station. Road signs promising said places invariably lie, making us drive miles out of our way.
Perhaps even more helpful would be having the British lady come equipped with a degree in either conflict resolution or marriage counseling.
Technology is wonderful. We just have to harness it for good.