The sky was overcast, but with no rain falling. However, the new car brightened my day, and I was eager to drive it. I pressed the gas slowly to give myself time to feel the car. The car moved as a breath with no feel of road bumps. After driving for a short distance, suddenly, I head the voice of a serious lady: “Turn right at the next street.” When I heard that, I felt that I am in good hands, and the Navigator is here for me. 

I adjusted myself in the comfortable seat and declared: “Today no more worries about direction; I have the ultimate authority on this matter, my beloved Navigator.” The navigator continued instructing me: “turn right, turn left, go ahead,” and so on. I obeyed with no questions asked. I looked at the cars on the street and felt pity for them; they don’t know what they are missing.

After 5 minutes of driving, I found my self close to I-495. I prepared myself to take the south bound to I-90 West to Chicago. But to my surprise, the navigator instructed me to continue over the high way on the same local road. I followed the navigator instruction. After all, who am I to know more than the navigator? I felt that there may be a secret short cut it knew but wanted to make it a surprise for me. 

I followed the Navigator directions for about half an hour. Then, I saw some construction signs and after about a hundred yard, I found my self in front of a demolished bridge. I slowed down, but the navigator urged me with the usual firm confident voice: “Go ahead on the same road and turn right after 700 ft.” 

I murmured, “Is this navigator blind? How can I go ahead? If I do that  I will go straight to the bottom of the river,” 

I looked at the navigator and said, “Was this the surprise stored for me? What a Surprise?” 

I turned left on a side road, and drove for half a mile.  Mysteriously, the Lady Navigator kept quite, as if she knew something I didn’t know. I realized that I am driving in a one way street, and she knew that I will hit the wall and return back. 

I came back to the same street with the broken bridge, and the Lady’s voice came loudly instructing me again to turn left over the bridge. I turned right, away from the bridge, but the navigator continued urging me to make a U- turn as soon as possible to go over the bridge. Because I did not have a map, and I did not know where to go, I made a U-turn hoping that the Navigator will realize its mistake and redirect me. But the navigator insisted to go over the broken bridge again. I felt that either the navigator is a suicidal navigator or it is engaging is conspiracy against me. 

I drove aimlessly, to go as far as I can from the broken bridge, for about half an hour hoping that the navigator will forget about the bridge and redirect me to another route. I succeeded in my effort. I found myself in a rural area driving from one local road to another, but still avoiding highways. After driving for several hours more, I found myself between mountains with no houses, gas stations, or stores around me. I realized then that I got lost. 

I called the dealer, and informed him that I am on Route 2 west. He advised me to exit and find a gas station to buy a map and use it because he is not familiar with this area. I exited at a town called “Orange” and stopped at the first gas station. The owner of the gas station was a nice Indian American man. 

I asked him, “Can you tell me how to reach I-90 West?” 

He answered with a heavy Indian accent: “Where are you going?”
“Chicago,” I replied. 

He said: “Ya! Ya! I know that; go east to Boston.”

I was baffled by his answer. I am west of Boston, and I want to go west to Chicago. Why shall I go east? The navigator has been fooling me since I left the dealership, and now the man wants to fool me too! If this is not conspiracy what is it then? 

I scratched my head and said: “Boston is in the east. I want to go west.” 

He inquired again: “Brother, where are you going?” 

I replied, “Chicago, IL.” 

He jumped back raising his hands in the air and cried “WOW! WOW! Chicago Illinois.  I don’t know about that brother, brother. Look at the map.”

I realized later that there is a city in Massachusetts called “Chicopee” that may have gotten him confused with Chicago. 

He showed me where the maps are. I bought one and checked how to reach I-90 west. I found that I can continue on Route 2 west to I-91 then take it south to I-90 west to Chicago. 

I went back on Rout-2 west, but the navigator kept telling me to exit and go north. I ignored it and continued on my way. I arrived to I-91, but the navigator asked me to take the north bound instead of the south bound. I hesitated for a moment, but I remembered what this navigator had done to me and decided this time to follow my guts. 

I drove on I-90 west for several hours. During all that time the navigator kept urging me to exit and go north. After sun set, I felt it is time to get a night rest in a hotel. I exited I-90, but I could not see a sign of a nearby hotel. I decided to consult the navigator. I pressed the POI button (point of interest), and a list of points of interests was displayed. I scrolled down and highlighted the word “Hotel” and pressed the “OK” button. I got a list of nearby hotels. The closest was the Comfort Inn. I clicked on this hotel that I am familiar with. 

The navigator asked me confidently:  “Do you want a direction to this motel?” 

I pressed the “OK” button. The navigator started the driving instruction that I followed till I heard it saying: “You arrived to your destination.” 

I looked at the screen and saw a flag proudly displayed confirming the destination arrival. I looked at the destination, and to my amazement, I found my destination to be a dumpster.  I whispered, “What does this navigator think of me: a cockroach or a rat?” I did not understand why the navigator wants to get rid of me that bad. 

I returned back to the main road, and after a few minutes of aimless driving, I found a sign of a hotel. I went to it and spent the night. 

The behavior of the navigator puzzled me. Why the navigator wants me to exit the high way and go north? Why it wants to take me close to a lake or a river? Why does it want me to go to the water? Is it possible that the navigator wants to drown me? Could it be the CIA is controlling the navigator through the satellite to kill me? This may look like a joke, but it is possible. We all know about the CIA secret missions. I was dying to understand the weird behavior of the navigator, but I had to go home first. 

I wanted to solve this mystery, but for now what I needed the most is to get some rest. After I checked in, I went to my room, put my head on the pillow, and went into a deep sleep. 

This was a very tough day for me. But if I have known what will happen the next day, I would have said, “This was a pleasant day for me.”

(To be continued) 
 
 


                   

 Part - One         Part - Two         Part - Three      Part -Four

 

Dr. Ibrahim M. Abdel-Motaleb 
Professor of Electrical Engineering 
Northern Illinois University 
DeKalb, IL 60115 

© Ibrahim Abdel-Motaleb 2007

 


 

 

The Egyptian Chronicles is a cooperative effort by a group of  Egyptian authors pooling together their talents for the sake of  Egypt's Future.  Articles contained in these pages are the personal views and/or work of the authors, who bear the sole responsibility of the content of their work. This Monthly Electronic Magazine is a non-profit , commercial free zone and is answerable to no one.


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