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
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
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,
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
Dr. Ibrahim M. Abdel-Motaleb
Professor of Electrical
DeKalb, IL 60115