Hey Y'allMarlene B
The other woman in your life
By Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

Who is she? What is her name? I know you have one in your life. In this day and age, we all do.

Our friend or fiend is Miss Marple, so named because she takes information from her community and surroundings to guide you. Miss Marple has a distinctive voice, and she doesn’t speak Southern.

She only knows HUGH-ston and not HOUSE-ton Street. Loganville is LOG-und-ville. VI-enna is VE-inna. Now you know as well as I do that this is just not right.

I have wanted to rip her wires out more than once when she has taken me around the world to get to where I wanted to be. Why can’t she just use streets AND expressways to get you there in the most efficient way?

A friend of ours has Plain Jane because her voice is so flat. Plain Jane’s favorite saying is “Make a legal U-turn.” It might be that our friend misses a lot of the turns. Regardless, riding with our friend and Plain Jane can cause one to very quietly loose her mind. 

I must tell you that Miss Marple has been called some other names when I have been alone in the car. On those days when I am running the latest, behind a traffic slow down and I hit every red light, Miss Marple tries to take me to the moon and back. I might say to her in my calmest, most soothing voice “Oh, shoot, Miss Marple. There must be a better way. Dang it, even I know a way that is better than what you are taking me, dear Miss Marple.” Well, it might not sound quite like that.

You know, I think she can really understand. And I am sure she retaliates by creating inventive new ways of getting places. The more aggravated you get, the more turns and twists in your directions. Really. Pay attention next time. When you put in the fastest time, see if you don’t end up in the worst traffic jam on the expressway. Tell her you want the shortest distance, and I bet you go 10 miles out of your way. There is never a most direct route.

If I take a different way than Miss Marple wants me to drive, she demands that I turn somewhere and then turn again and then turn again. She gets really aggravated and demanding. You know, now that I think of it, she does have something of a hateful voice.

I was coming home from the far side of Dacula (DACK-you-LAH). Miss Marple and I had a gentle conversation about how she just possibly had made a mistake. I knew enough to know that Snellville was not in the direction of Buford (BUFF-ford). When I saw the road sign indicating I was entering Carl, Georgia--CARL? I knew I was in trouble. Where in blue blazes is CARL, Georgia? All I knew was I was in Carl, and Miss Marple had me. I knew of no way home, and that meant, she was in charge. I swear she snickered. Carl is the only name she pronounced correctly, by the way. 

I pulled over on this wild goose chase and hit the home button again. She brought up a completely different map this time. I went down every pig path, side road, and had to do several legal and illegal U-turns. Eventually, I got home. It should have taken 30 to 45 minutes. Two and half hours. Snell was about to call the state patrol, because, of course, my phone couldn’t get a signal for 90+% of the time.

We recently stopped at the Georgia Welcome Center. I got a paper Georgia paper map and an Atlanta paper map. I will learn how to refold them, and they will always be in the car. I may do no more than slap Miss Marple with the maps, but I feel more comfortable with some old technology--that doesn’t talk back.