Bits and Bytes

Little Blue Dot…

Mum, me, my sister Nat
I spent three days last week with my Mum and my sister Nat in Vancouver. We rented a car. My mum originally counseled me not to rent a car: “There’s a lot of traffic Jennifer. A lot of traffic. And there will be all of these one-way streets. You don’t want the bother. We’ll use public transit.” (My mum plans her route around Whitehorse so she doesn’t have t make left-hand turns.) But I couldn’t imagine my mum toting her suitcase and traveling paraphernalia around on the Vancouver bus system (no matter how polite it is). My sister Nat phoned up and voiced her dissent of carting her suitcase across Vancouver and back. I quelled Mum’s worries about traffic: “There’s six million people in the Bay Area Mum. I drive here every day. I think I can handle Vancouver. ” 

“Well. Alright.” I know she’s nervous because driving in big cities with my Dad is pretty stressful. He’s always worried about which lane he needs to be in and low and behold, he’s a moving target.  And she gets anxious that she can’t find out where they are all the time. And he gets anxious driving in all that traffic. And you can imagine how things turn out: They’ve been together over 40 years. And I know how hard it is to orient myself when I’m driving around. I guess that’s one thing that makes Google maps on the iPhone so popular.

I was driving in San Francisco one day with my friend and he had an iPhone. We used Google maps to orient ourselves. Wherever we drove, the iPhone would display a little blue dot that would move along the map as we moved along the street. A little blue dot. One time, we even took a short cut through a parking lot and the little blue dot went off-road with us. I love that little blue dot! And that it knows where I am and helps me find my way.

Which leads me to the story of my Mum and the rental car.  We rented a red Toyota Yaris. It was really funny. The car was so tiny. But my family is tiny. My mum is 4’11”. My sister: 5’1″ or something. I’m an anomaly at 5’5″.  But it fit us. It fit our luggage. And it had a great turning radius–unlike my current Honda Civic. I made a U-turn whenever I could–because I could.

My mum would sit in the front seat with the map from the rental agency and tell me where I was. We’d cross a street and my mum would look at the street signs and tell us exactly where we were: “We’re here. We’re here.” And she’d point it out on the map and show me.

She’d get upset when she couldn’t find a street on the map. “Fir Street. Fir Street. I don’t see a Fir Street.” And I would turn down the Fir Street just to see if she could figure out where we were on her map.

The best thing is that the first day in Vancouver, she bought a blue fleece coat at MEC and wore it the rest of the trip. Every time she pointed out where we were on her map, I’d say: “Thank you Little Blue Dot”.

When we got in the car, I’d ask if the Little Blue Dot would like to know where we were going and we’d plan out the route before we went. Then, she’d update me as we were driving. I’d tell her: “I’m so lucky. Everybody else has an iPhone. I have my own, personal, and completely customized Little Blue Dot.”

Did I mention, my mum’s name is Dorothy? (Dot for short!).

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Comments (3)

  1. That is so sweet!!! I love it!

    I can’t believe you’re only 5’5″! (Which is perfectly normal, but I just had this impression that you were way taller than me! Since I’m just shy of 5’4″, I guess I can’t claim to be dwarfed in your presence.)