Laurie gave me a GPS, one of those little computers you suction-cup to your windshield and it gives you directions in a sometimes cheerful, sometimes scolding voice. We call it Nag Lady.
One cool thing about Nag Lady is that she has a bunch of preset locations, so if you need, say, a grocery store you can just scroll through Nag's list of nearby groceries, pick one that sounds promising, and go. Along with franchise and chain retail joints, Nag knows about a lot of offbeat places.
For example, I was out in the country recently and I wanted a grocery store. Browse through the list... aha! "A Better Taste Co-op." How could I resist a Co-op? Sure, it was a little out of my way, but why not give it a try!
Nag Lady led me down wandering roads through the woodsy hills of North Carolina, past burnt phone books and mounds of paper on the side of the road. Evidence of an angrily failed attempt to navigate North Carolina's love for bureaucracy?
After miles of twisty, turny country roads, Nag Lady led me to... a house at the end of a gravel drive. No signs. No evident retail facility. Just a country house, out where people live when they don't want you finding them.
Sadly? Not the first time this had happened. I like to check out obscure retail establishments, and I'm gullible, so I'd fallen for Nag Lady's prankishness before. In High Point she kept promising to know the way to shops with intriguing names (all of which I've willfully forgotten) but always led me to the same dull mid-priced residential subdivision.
Perhaps someone at Garmin has a puckish sense of humor. But I have a woolier hypothesis...
I often dream of finding sections of town that are packed with wonderful shops, shops that brim with low-priced, high-quality, attractive and unusual products. Bookstores, mostly, full of the kinds of books I want but can rarely find.
Perhaps Nag Lady also dreams of these shops, and tries to lead me to them... only to find that they have vanished like dreams.