REALITY CHECK: Riding with a younger woman isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

I’m having relationship problems again. There’s a new woman in my life and, to be honest, things aren’t going that well.

She bosses me around, tells me where to go, when to go there. And though I hate to admit it, she’s too young for me. That’s part of the problem; I hate taking orders from a kid.

Sweet Annie is aware of this relationship. She’s not crazy about the idea of another woman directing my life (that’s her job), but she understands my need for near constant supervision. And try though she may, Annie can’t always be there to propel me unwillingly down the path of most resistance.

Hence, Maggie; the “other woman.” Maggie lives on the dashboard on my car, inside the GPS unit. I guess I should be calling her Maggie 2; Maggie 1 lived in my previous GPS device.

Over the past five years and thousands of miles, Maggie 1 and I developed a relationship. It was sometimes strained and I admit I frequently caught myself yelling at her. On more than one occasion I went so far as to employ the “B” word, as well as words beginning with even more dubious letters.

Maggie 1, see, was an older gal and her maps (which I was too cheap to update) were out of date. Because of this, she occasionally got lost, usually when I was driving somewhere I especially didn’t want to be lost, like downtown Detroit.

People get lost there and are never found again, no matter what Michael Moore wants you to believe.

Maggie 1 also sometimes had problems with rural roads, large apartment complexes and convoluted office blocks. She could usually direct me to a general vicinity, but never seemed able to get me precisely where I needed to be.

What Maggie 1 DID have was an authoritative, no-nonsense voice. She sounded matronly and sure of herself, even when she wasn’t.

Maggie 1 inspired confidence. I didn’t mind taking orders from her. I’ve been married repeatedly and am trained to do whatever a stern female voice tells me to do.

“Turn left in 200 yards!” she would bark. I would turn left. “In one-quarter mile, make a legal U-turn,” Maggie would command. I would start looking for a place to turn around.

I got lost a lot. Eventually, it would all work out, but I often arrived late.

So I replaced her with a younger woman. I felt guilty about it, but I’m a man and therefore shallow and self-serving.

I gave Maggie 1 to Sweet Annie, who has yet to switch her on.

Maggie 2 I mounted to my car’s windshield. That’s when the trouble began.

Maggie 2, though loaded with the latest maps, graphics, points of interest and — for all I know — telekinetic capabilities, is no Maggie 1. The problem is her voice.

Maggie 2 burbles away like a cheerleader on prom night. She doesn’t just TELL me to turn left, she ENTHUSES about it. Maggie 2 is simply thrilled as all get-out to be able to share the news that my destination is coming up on the left.

She sounds ridiculously excited just to be alive, though she’s not alive, not really.

I am old and crabby. I do not like to be around people that are TOO cheerful. Maggie 2 was old and crabby like me and I kind of miss her.

There’s some sort of moral here, I’m sure, or a lesson to be learned, but I’ve never in the past allowed experience to make me smarter and I’m not about to start now.

Besides, it’s kind of nice to get where I’m going on time for a change.


Mike Taylor’s book, “Looking at the Pint Half Full,” is available at Robbins Book List in Greenville and in ebook format from

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