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Driven up a wall, or into one, by that maddening voice

Feb 18, 2011 7:46:00 AM - thestate.com
Irvin Gordon has put 2.9 million miles on his 1966 red Volvo, earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He has crossed the country at least 45 times and rarely gets lost. Still, six years ago, he went out and bought himself a TomTom, not so much because he required navigational assistance, but because he missed having someone to argue with.

“I argue with her all the time. A lot of times I know better than she does what’s the best route,” boasts Gordon, 70, a retired science teacher from Long Island, N.Y., who started driving 100,000 miles a year after his divorce in 1996, just because he could. His GPS reminds him of his ex-wife.

They were supposed to just help us get around, but the little devices suction-cupped to the dashboard, built into the car or tucked away in the cell phone have taken on an unexpectedly human presence in our roadway lives. We give them names: Libby (short for “the Lady in the Box”), Shirley, Bruce, Bernard and Shehu (as in “She Who Must Be Obeyed”).

“I’ve been calling my C330 Paula after my first wife because she was always telling me what to do, too,” a user known as Donicus from Lewisville, Texas, wrote on a Web page devoted to people who felt compelled to name their global positioning satellite devices the way they would the dog, except not exactly, because the dog can’t talk.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)