I have had cause to do a lot of driving over the last couple of weeks.
Usually when I drive I fire up Roger, my SatNav, not because I don’t know where I am going, but its speed indicator is a lot more accurate than the speedometer on the dashboard. The reason for that is simple – Roger calculates speed by calculating how long it takes to travel between two points, whereas the speedometer relies on measuring rotation of the wheels which can be wildly inaccurate. Even incorrect tyre pressure can fuck up the speedometer.
In practice, my speedometer is out by quite a margin. When it indicates I am doing around fifty, I am actually doing around 46 or 47.
They are quite obsessive about speed in this country. Speed limits abound and few make any sense. They have a habit of changing them too and then sticking up GMCMs [Garda Mobile Cash Machines otherwise known as “safety cameras” which is nauseating misnomer, if ever I heard one]. Now Roger not only gives me an accurate speed reading but he also knows the prevailing limit and beeps gently if I am over the limit. Even better – he warns me if I am in a “safety camera zone” so all in all he’s a handy chap to have around.
Yesterday I was pootling along a road heading back from Dublin. It was a clear stretch of road and traffic was heavy but driving smoothly at around 60 or 70. The prevailing limit was 50. Up ahead I saw one of those radar speed indicators that tells you what speed you are doing by flashing a number at you, usually in red lights. Every now and then I like to test out Roger and here was a clear chance. There was no traffic behind me so I slowed until Roger settled bang on 50.
The sign ahead was frantically flashing red 66s and 68s as the cars in front passed. Then it latched onto my car. Red changed to green and it locked on a steady 50. Roger and the sign were in total agreement.
But then the steady 50 changed to two words – “Thank you”. Now it’s one thing to be thanked by someone for a good deed, but to be thanked by a fucking pole at the side of the road is too much. How can a fucking pole and a few bulbs express gratitude? It’s a fucking lump of metal with some circuitry and it’s trying to kid me that it has emotions and is grateful?
“Fuck you” I cheerfully shouted back, and brought the car back up to 75 to catch up with the cars ahead.
Roger resumed his usual steady beeping.