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Sue Bruns: Typical conversation of a retired couple No. 2

“Did you remember to bring the folder with your paperwork in it?” I ask.

“Right here,” says Gary, holding up the folder.

“So your appointment is at 9 a.m. We’d better get going. It takes two and a half hours to get to Fargo.”

“No, it’s only two hours to Fargo. Same as Grand Forks.”

“Whenever I went to Moorhead for a class, it took me longer than two hours to get there.”

“You drive slow.”

“I drive the speed limit.”

“Well, I’m driving to Fargo today.” He turns left out of the driveway.

“Why are you going this way?”

“It’s more scenic.”

“We don’t have time for scenic today. We just need to get there on time.”

“It’s the same distance going the back roads as if we got right on (Highway) 71.”

“That’s what you tell me, but it always seems longer this way.”

“No traffic. It’s nicer.”

“Ok. If you say so.”

“We’ve got plenty time.”

“Well, let’s just get to Fargo. Then, if we have time before your appointment, we can grab a light breakfast.”

(90 minutes later)

“Check the address.”

“Ok. Let’s see. ‘1121 North Elm Street.’ I’ll just put it in the Garmin, and she’ll take us right to it.”

(Enters city and address)

“Darn. This dumb thing. The touch screen is so weird. I have to practically pound on it to enter the numbers and letters.”

(After several seconds.)

“There. Finally! WHAT? It says no such address can be found. This stupid thing. Maybe I forgot to put in ‘Fargo.’ Or maybe I forgot to change it from ‘Minnesota’ to ‘North Dakota.’ I’ll try again.”

(Tries again. Pounds fingers on screen.)

(Reading prompts) “OK. Where to? State? N-o-r-t-h D-a-k-o-t-a. City? F-a-r-g-o. Geesh. This is killing my fingers. I don’t get what’s going on with this touch screen. Address? 1-1-2-1 N-o-r-t-h E-l-m S-t-r-e-e-t. WHAT? It still says no such address! How can that be? I put it in exactly the way it is here on this letter?”

“Call them and verify the address.”

“You think they’d have the address wrong in their own letterhead?”

“Well, then, use a map.”

“We don’t have a map.”

“Just call and get directions.”

“Stupid Garmin. Ok. Here’s the number.”

(Enters number in cell phone.)


“Now what?”

“Automated message. It says listen carefully as our menu has changed. Oh, heck. I’m just pushing ‘O’ for Operator.”

(Human voice answers.)

“Hello. My husband has a 9’oclock appointment and we’re coming into town on Highway 10. What is your address again? (Repeats) ‘1-1-2-1 Elm Street North’? Ok. Thanks.” (Grumbles)


“Their letter says ‘North Elm Street,’ but she said, ‘Elm Street North.’ Why would they put it down one way and tell it to me another way? I’ll try that in the Garmin: 1-1-2-1 E-l-m S-t-r-e-e-t N-o-r-t-h.”

(Enters address.)

“AHA! Yeah! She recognizes THAT! Geesh. I’ve never had that situation before.”

“Oh, well. We’re on our way and we have plenty time. What’s the estimated time of arrival?”

“8:45. I guess when you drive it does only take two hours to get to Fargo. Now we can relax and let her take us there.”

“Seems like cheating. All you do is plunk in the address and a little electronic box tells you where to turn.”

“Yeah, well, she didn’t know ‘North Elm Street’ from ‘Elm Street North.’”

(9 minutes later)

“This really seems off the beaten path. I thought it was closer to the airport.”

“Well, Garmin knows. If she says it’s this way, obviously it is! She’ll get us to your appointment on time.”

GARMIN: “In .5 miles, turn right.”

“We’re getting close. And we’ll be there in plenty time.”

“I don’t like this gravel road.”

“AAARGhhh! Gravel road? This is crazy.”

GARMIN: “Arriving at destination.”

“This little green house does not look like the VA Hospital.”

“AAARGhhh! Look at the address! It’s 1-1-2 Elm Street. This dumb touch screen didn’t read my last digit. Oh my gosh. I’m sorry. I’ll fix this. Let me get the address in right. Darn. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the gravel road. 1-1-2-1 Elm Street North. AAARGhh! OK. At least we’re on the right street, — maybe. It can’t be far. We just need to get off this gravel road and back onto the paved road and then stay on that road for … 16 MILES? Can that be right? This is crazy. Hurry up honey. We don’t want to be late.”

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