I mentioned a while ago that I had gotten myself a Roger Mk II.
For those of you who have been [or still are] living under a rock, Roger is the bloke who lives on a satellite and navigates me around the countryside by giving directions on a little map on my dashboard.
Now Roger Mk II sounds exactly like Roger Mk I, but there are some subtle differences. The first and probably the most important is that Mk II hasn’t tried to kill me yet. Mk I had a nasty habit of waiting until I was half way across a viaduct and then ordering me to take a sharp right, or just plain trying to get me to drive into a lake. Mk II has so far proved to be the perfect gentleman and utterly reliable even if he still hasn’t a fucking clue how to pronounce French names. I’m glad of the latter as it provides some light relief on a long trip. Occasionally it even provides a moment of outright hilarity.
One of the features I mentioned before is that roger now beeps at me when I exceed the speed limit. I switched that off because it was going constantly, but have resurrected it for the French driving, as the French have really sensible speed limits. The open road is generally 90, but that frequently increases to 110 or higher on the main roads. On the other hand it often drops to 70 for a few metres because of a hidden junction, and can reduce to a crawl for town centres and the like.
As well as beeping at me, Roger now tells me how fast I am going too. And I have discovered that my own speedometer is way off the mark. It constantly overestimates my speed and tells me I’m doing 95 or 96 when I am actually doing 90. But how do I know which is correct? Simple. The French have kindly put up the occasional speed warning thingy that informs me how fast I am going. And their thingies agree spot on with Roger. So fuck my speedometer, I’m going by Roger in future.
One aspect of Roger Mk I that I thoroughly enjoyed was his total lack of a sense of humour. I used to programme him to go to a particular spot and would then head off in the opposite direction. This used to tie him up in fits of apoplexy and he would start shouting at me to take a U-turn. When that failed he would start shouting “recalculating” at me at regular intervals, before going into a total sulk. The new bloke is apparently made of sterner stuff however. If I drive past my destination, he calmly and coolly gives directions back to wherever I missed. He hasn’t said “recalculating” once, which is a bit disappointing.
So far, since the start of the holiday, Roger hasn’t put a foot wrong. He has directed me along roads that even the large scale Michelin maps don’t show. He has been 100% accurate to date. His estimates of driving times are uncanny. His knowledge of speed limits is encyclopaedic.
So why do I have this nagging suspicion that he is saving everything up for one big nasty moment?