Skip to content

Holding It All Together-A Good Idea

By Amy McCollom
Well, it seemed like a good idea. I mean, aren’t we always hearing about how we are supposed to be moving more, getting more exercise and fresh air? Especially since the pandemic set us all back emotionally and physically, I think our bodies and moods have all been needing a refresh. And that is what started my whole day off.

It was last Thursday, and I had a wonderful idea that bike-riding would be a great exercise to get my daughter and I off of the couch and out of the house; we just needed a couple of bikes. After perusing some online ads, I found two bikes from a seller in Savoy that sounded like they would be perfect. So I set up the appointment and later that day we hit the road to go see the bikes.

I’m not good with directions, or going off of my familiar beaten trail, so I typed the address into my iPhone Maps app, and pushed start. When I first got my ihone, I set up my phone to talk in a British male voice because I didn’t want another woman telling me what to do. So my proper British Siri fellow starts me off by saying, 

“Turn left at the stop sign and go to the next block.” Of course, I know my way out of town, so I didn’t turn that way, and he had to correct himself, ha ha ha. But as the directions got a little more unfamiliar, I had to take Siri more “Siri-ous.” 

Not only do I have a poor sense of direction, I also have a terrible sense of distance. This doesn’t work well when GPS counts on you having this knowledge. So I hear Siri say, “In 1,000 feet, turn north.” And in my mind, I was thinking, “Oh crap! How far is 1,000 feet? Which way is north? I wasn’t paying attention?!! How far have I driven since he said that?”

Luckily, Siri gave me a few more warnings before I had to turn, but not before my heart skipped a few more beats and I ended up out in the country somewhere by turning too soon. 

So I have decided I need to find someone to help me write a program to customize GPS for down-home folks, like myself, who understand things better when said in more user-friendly ways.

First of all, we would need to hire a grandma and a grandpa to do the voices. You could take your pick who you want your directions from, but who wouldn’t believe a granny or a grandpappy? They wouldn’t lie to you. 

Next we would have to get rid of all those numbers like feet, and yards, and replace them with words that we can relate to like landmarks that you can actually see. And also, there wouldn’t be any north, south, east, or west, just left or right or straight. Directions would be more descriptive too, so you would be sure you got it right.

Down Home GPS might look something like this:

“Go on and head out of town like you’re going to the movies, on that highway, Rt. 73.”

“You see that big red barn up ahead, well, don’t turn there, but get ready, cause you gonna wanna turn right when you see that yellow house where Earl Smithers lives now.”

“Go on down across the bridge, stop if you want to, good bluegill in that crick, but if yer in a hurry go on down for a while to the white farmhouse on the left that has the big front yard. Turn left there.”

“You are almost there. Keep on going down that road you are on, it curves a little so be careful, but just on past the pig farm is the place you’re heading. It’s the blue house with the pond across the road. Watch out for the ducks.”

Well, MY GPS wasn’t as descriptive but it did get us to our location, with Portia’s help too. She was my navigator and looked for the street sign and house number.

We got out of the van and met the seller, saw the bikes and decided to try one out. Mind you, we hadn’t ridden bikes in several years, but hey, how does the saying go? “It’s just like riding a bike?” 

So Portia went first on the smaller bike, and she struggled, but got her balance a little before running into the grass and stopping. At least she didn’t fall over. We would take that bike and she would practice more at home, she said. My turn. I mounted the nice red Huffy Cruiser for a test ride, but my tippy toes barely reached the ground, and I felt FEAR well up in my stomach and wanted off the bike immediately. I decided one bike would be fine for the both of us, or I would get a smaller bike later, so I dismounted the bike, but…

My foot didn’t quite get over the top of the bar, and I fell backwards onto my back and hit the back of my head on the driveway behind me. I think I bounced once or twice too. I was careful to pull my hands and arms in, and not try and catch myself as I fell; I didn’t want any broken bones. I think I fell in slow motion, at least that is what it felt like. It was painful, embarrassing, and scary. The poor seller screamed and was terrified. I had to assure her that I was ok, even though I wasn’t sure I was. After a few minutes my head became clearer and I purchased the smaller bike and loaded it into my van.

Several good things came out of that event. We have a new bike. Portia and I spent some quality time together. We are going to get some exercise. We learned our boundaries and faced our fears. I remembered how to land correctly in a fall from a video I had seen that was made by a stuntman. And just maybe I will help create a more fun version of GPS, or at least make somebody laugh with this column. Stay safe, my friends.

Leave a Comment