Voices from the Backseat

Squiggling Neon, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day I was driving with two friends in my car-one in the front seat, next to me, and one in the back. As we pulled onto the highway, two cars in front of us each tried to change lanes into the same lane at the same time, narrowly avoid each other. As we saw what was unfolding in front of us, my front seat passenger and I each braced for the worst-I gripped the steering wheel and let out a gasp, certain that we were about to collide with the wreck that was unfolding before our eyes.

He looked at me and asked, “Are you ok?” to which I responded, “I’m good” and then, motioning at the red sports car in front of us that just almost crashed, added, “I am The Stig.”

My passenger in front, a fellow Top Gear fan laughed, saying, “he’s going to need a crash helmet just like the real Stig if he keeps driving like that.”

In the backseat, my other passenger, who had been reading and obviously missed all of the shenanigans on the highway unfolding in front of us, looked up in curiosity and asked, “What is going on? Did we just almost crash or something? And would somebody please tell me what the hell is a Stig?”

A friend of mine has one of those newfangled satellite navigation systems for her car. You know the kind, it’s one of those systems that talks to you, instructing you which way to turn and such. The trouble with her system is that, since she had purchased it early (it’s one of the older ones) and she was cheap about it, she’s got a very inexpensive navigational system. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it directs us to unusual places, but most of the time, it just sort of ignores us and we wind up missing turns and the like. Another interesting “feature” about it is that, while typically programmed in a “sexy deep male” voice, every now and again it will reprogram itself. When it does this, it turns into the voice of a British woman, saying things like “ease into the roundabout” in proper British accent.

When last down in Houston, to visit a gallery and photo exhibit, we had the navigational system in full swing. The construction around Houston made it difficult to get around, so we were all sort of paying attention to the roads, and hoping to get out of town at a reasonable hour. Dan, a friend of mine, had been kind enough to let me ride in front on the long journey back to Austin.

With three of us in the car, we didn’t bother with the radio. On the way back from the show, we opted to chat instead. The navigational system steered us onto the interstate and we started to settle down. Just as it had gotten quiet in the car, the sat nav kicked in and starting speaking British at us.

“Ease onto the motorway,” a female voice told us, in proper British accent.

Dan was first to respond. From the backseat, in a rather respectable yet completely feigned British accent, we heard, “Bloody Hell, we’re in Houston.”

It’s a dark place back there. Be sure to pack your teddy bear for the trip.

Until next time…


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