Know this: Bossy loves maps. She loves unfurling maps and she loves reading maps and she loves being good at reading maps. She loves all the blue and red veins and arteries, she loves the designated bodies of water, she loves the green mountain ranges. She loves holding the map and tracking her progress from exit to exit, Salina-Abilene-Junction City, like a flea along the giant Dane that is Kansas. Etcetera.
So when Bossy found out that all of her sponsored cars came equipped with a navigational system, she was less than enthusiastic.
A few days before Bossy was to embark on her Excellent Panic Attack, Saturn delivered Bossy’s first car— an emerald blue Vue. You won’t find any details here regarding what it was like when that first
responsibility car was parked all shiny and perfect in Bossy’s driveway, because she was too busy collapsing in cowardly heaps around the feet of her unprepared brother and husband.
Just like you won’t find any details here regarding the day the man from OnStar arrived to teach Bossy how to use the car’s navigational system. The man from OnStar was named Chuck from OnStar, and he was a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable representative.
This was the first Excellent Encounter Bossy had regarding her Road Trip, since she wasn’t available to chitchat when the driver delivered her Vue because it’s often difficult to chitchat when you are cowering behind the family room entertainment center.
So here comes Chuck from OnStar and he suggests accompanying Bossy out to her vehicle so he can commence the demonstration and Bossy is serious—that’s the way those guys from OnStar talk.
Meanwhile Bossy wants to appear professional because. Saturn sponsorship! And luckily wanting to appear professional and appearing professional are the same thing, because here is a photograph of Bossy meeting with her Onstar representative Chuck:
So Bossy and Chuck walk over to the car and Chuck suggests that Bossy climb in the driver’s seat—and when he made the suggestion, it was with confidence as if Chuck thought Bossy was the type to embark alone on a thirty-five day Road Trip across the country.
From his position in the passenger seat, Chuck turned Bossy’s attention to the OnStar Control Panel:
Chuck tells Bossy about the red and white button on the far right, and how it’s used for emergencies such as driver illness and death and flat tires and crushing accidents—maybe Chuck even suggested Bossy push this button to see what happens, but Bossy can’t remember because at this point she was slipping into an anxiety coma.
Next Chuck tells Bossy about the blue button to the left of the emergency button. The blue button is the driver’s direct link to the live advisors waiting to provide navigation and other copilot assistance. Chuck suggests Bossy engage the engine and depress the button as if she needs navigational help in reaching a destination, and Bossy told you she was serious when she said this is the way OnStar professionals talk.
“Just pick a place nearby,” Chuck said. “Any place.”
“What’s ‘a place’?” Bossy said. “What’s ‘nearby’?” Bossy said.
“Pick a place nearby,” Chuck patiently repeated. “Pick a place, any place, like Target.”
In a fit of originality, and because Bossy’s brain had suddenly emptied of all known places, Bossy said, “How about Target?”
Then Chuck explained that Bossy had to first depress the blue button in order to speak to the live advisor. So Bossy pushes the button and within seconds the live advisor was inside the Saturn Vue with Chuck and Bossy. “Hi, you’ve reached OnStar, and what can I help you with today?”
For starters, Bossy thought, you can help figure out a way to cancel one very Excellent Road Trip, because there’s no way Bossy is going to be able to deal with the responsibility of shiny new cars filled with talking buttons.
“Do you need directions today?” the Onstar Advisor repeated.
Next Chuck wiped the drool from Bossy’s chin and reminded Bossy that when we have something to communicate to another person, it’s customary to open one’s mouth and allow the air to pass over the vibrating vocal cords.
“Targetzzzzzhsjdk” Bossy said, and within seconds the OnStar Advisor had located the closest available Target and had loaded those directions into her car’s computer.
Chuck then suggested Bossy put her car in drive and remove her foot from the brake—something about needing to be in motion in order to reach a destination, blah blah blah.
Once in motion, the automated OnStar voice delivered Bossy’s first direction, “Turn left, you goof,” except the OnStar voice didn’t say goof and it provided street names and various distances that Bossy is not good at interpreting, like 200 yards.
After a handful of minutes and the same number of turn-by-turn directions, Chuck pronounced Bossy ready to navigate 10,000 odd miles alone, emphasis on odd.
Oh, and did Bossy mention that Bossy’s husband was in the back seat during the entire demonstration, leaning into the front of the car asking questions? This was Bossy’s husband:
Back in Bossy’s driveway, Chuck demonstrated a few more OnStar features, such as hands-free calling, which is activated by pushing the phone icon to the left of the blue button:
With his job accomplished, Chuck shook Bossy’s hand and wished her luck while Bossy raved about the various OnStar features—but here’s what Chuck didn’t know: Bossy had no intention of using her OnStar navigational system, just like she had no intention of programming phone numbers into her car’s computer, and hello one person left still reading!
But then a funny thing happened on the first day of Bossy’s Excellent Winefest, and when the funny thing happened she was traveling in Maryland between Elkton and Aberdeen: she got bored. And so Bossy decided to program her husband’s phone number into the car, which was as easy as pushing a button and dictating the numbers. And then Bossy programmed her mother’s phone number into her car, and then her friend Amy’s. And then she programmed her kindergarten teacher’s number, the pet store’s number, and the lady who lives next door to her brother’s drummer’s house.
And then Bossy picked up her printed itinerary and decided to use OnStar’s turn-by-turn navigation system to find her first destination. She pushed the blue button and asked for directions and tried not to choke on her own spittle when the OnStar Advisor asked if she was having a nice day.
And the turn-by-turn automated directions were entirely helpful and allowed Bossy to focus her full attention on driving instead of map reading, even if
Pine Branch Road when voice-automated sounds like Hiney Crotch Road.
The next day on her way to Richmond, Bossy pushed the blue button again and asked the Onstar Advisor to locate the nearest Starbucks.
On her way to Orlando, Bossy asked the Onstar Advisor to locate the nearest gas station—not because she needed fuel, but just so she could chat for a few minutes with the perky employees of OnStar.
Other awesome OnStar facts: you can push the phone icon button and utter one word demands which will prompt all kind of automated activity—like “dial” and “store” and “call” and “cancel” and “repeat” and who has more fun than us vagabond bloggers?
One more miscellaneous OnStar fact: when receiving turn-by-turn directions, the automated voice is male—but when you go off course or make a wrong turn, the automated voice is female. Bossy doesn’t know what this says about sexism, but the voice is pissed and she is carrying a rolling pin.
Bossy grew to love everything about OnStar, and the system never failed Bossy except that once when she was caught in the fog forty minutes from civilization, and that other time when she was trapped in the bayou outside of New Orleans looking for fuel—because apparently it can be difficult for GPS to track a vehicle that is located within close proximity of a large body of water or a large uninhabited tract of land, which is fine because it’s not like those two situations are dangerous.
All in all, OnStar saved Bossy’s arse more than once, and allowed her map reading to be purely for entertainment purposes—and about maps? Do you know how to fold an unwieldy map? Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.