Sunday, October 28, 2012


By Irwin, G.P.S. (Grand Poobah of Sightseeing)

It’s been a few years now since my humble beginnings as Joann's and Ruth’s “Go-To Guy” for backroads and big city navigation. At first, it didn’t look like I was going to get the job. They bought the equipment, plugged it in, and just gave the job to Jill, the “default” voice from the factory. I mean, I understand equal opportunity for women and all that, but she really wasn’t very good…or friendly.

At first they had a bit of fun with her. She would say, “In .5 miles, turn right on Pleasant Ridge Road, then turn left.” And Ruth would respond, “Anywhere?” But soon they got tired of her and even started calling her names because they thought she was too bossy. So they opened it up for auditions and they asked me to try out.

After several auditions and a trial period, they decided they liked my Australian accent best and I was given the job. I couldn’t have been happier. Jill, on the other hand, was NOT happy to relinquish her duties and take a back seat. But it wasn’t up to her. Or was it?

For months, she quietly rode along as I learned the ropes and became quite proficient in my duties. Sometimes, though, Ruth and Joann get a bit frustrated with me and I see Jill back there making plans to regain her former duties. I make mistakes here and there but, overall, I do a pretty good job of getting them where they want to go. So, other than calling me “butthead” once in a while, they haven’t threatened to replace me. Meanwhile, Jill has apparently been planning a coup d’etat (that’s French for overthrowing those in power…..which would be ME!).

She made her first attempt to overtake the throne back in May, shortly after we returned from a 10-day trip to Ohio. On the last day of the trip, Ruth told Joann that she had a surprise for her, so Joann started guessing about what it might be. She thought it was something good to photograph on the way home, but Ruth said that it wasn’t.

Ruth finally gave enough hints that Joann guessed that it had something to do with me, but Joann wasn’t quite sure what that meant. After spending WAY too much of their last day on the eastern edge of Indiana, we needed to cover some serious ground to make it home, so they both forgot about the surprise. A few days later, Joann asked me to direct her somewhere. But before I could speak my first words, Jill snuck up from behind, put a gag in my mouth, and took over. Boy, was Joann surprised when Jill started barking out directions!

Later, Joann accused Ruth of pulling a mean joke by temporarily giving Jill her job back as soon as we had gotten home from Ohio. Ruth swore the surprise had nothing to do with Jill. Luckily, Joann told Jill to shut up and came and found me and asked me to come back. I knew it wasn’t Joann’s fault, so I agreed to return to my job. But we hadn’t heard the last of Jill, not by a long shot. In early September, Joann spent the day with her brother Paul, cruising up and down the Wisconsin River. She got some great photos of the rock formations.

At the end of the day, they decided to get something to eat and Joann asked me to take her to the restaurant they had chosen. And this time, Jill stuck her foot out and tripped me before I could give the first instruction. When she started bossing Joann around about how to get to the restaurant, Joann couldn’t believe her ears. When she was about to leave the restaurant, Joann came looking for me and asked me what happened. I was too embarrassed to tell her that I had gotten beaten up by a girl….again.

A couple weeks later, as Joann was leaving to attend a Cousins Party with many of her first cousins, she typed in the address of the party and then backed the car out of the garage. And that’s when Jill locked me in the closet. And before Joann even got out of the driveway, Jill told her to go .2 miles and make a U-turn. How stupid was that? I told you she was incompetent! So Joann parked the car at the end of the driveway and pleaded with me to come back and help her get to the party so she could spend some time with her cousins.

I knew the drive to the party would be enjoyable and I didn’t want to miss seeing that cool barn mural for Schuster’s Sweet Switchers, so I jumped at the chance to come back once again.

I sure like hitting the backroads with Joann and Ruth, but something has to be done about Jill. She’s become a real nuisance and I don’t know how much longer I can live in the same unit with her. Anyone have any ideas?

Happy Halloween and Happy Shunpiking!


  1. I was looking back at the Backroads Blogs and found this one. I don't know how I missed it in October - oh, wait, we were moving - that's why. Anyway, great story, Irwin! Has Jill finally given up or is she still up to her tricks?

  2. Hi Phyllis, Good to hear from you! No, Jill has certainly not given up! Joann updated the maps a couple weeks ago and was smart enough to come and find me as soon as the update was done. But, oh boy, was Jill ever mad about that! She thought it would be an easy take-over, but Joann put her in her place (in the back of beyond)....or so we thought. A couple days later, she wrestled me to the ground (again) and, to Joann's surprise, she started barking orders again. I'm really getting tired of getting beat up by a girl. Any ideas?

  3. Wow, Irwin! She sure is possessed or at least possessive of the opportunity to tell Joann and Ruth where to go! Can you sneak up behind her and put a muzzle over her mouth?