"I love our GPS," I said as we plugged in the Tom Tom and set off for the Go Gos concert at the Lumiere Place Casino.
Those of you in Saint Louis know why I did not want to get lost downtown. Those of you in Australia (Hi! I can see you!) or the Philippines (Magandang tanghali po!) may wonder why I needed the Tom Tom GPS to drive to downtown Saint Louis.
For you, here's a picture:
That's East Saint Louis. And, someone has been shot to death behind that building.
Happily, the Tom Tom lead us right downtown in her cultured English accent. "Take the exit right, then go straight on to the motorway." Mind the gap, please.
We easily spotted the newly constructed casino on the Riverfront. (Italics mine, for reasons that will become obvious if they aren't already.)
I turned on to MLK as Tom Tom instructed.
"Don't go over the bridge," Gary warned, as he always does, because that is where East Saint Louis is.
"Turn left." Tom Tom said. "Left" was where the casino was, albeit on the other side of a concrete embankment. "Turn left!" Tom Tom said, more emphatically.
"TURN LEFT! WE'RE GOING OVER THE BRIDGE! DO WHAT SHE SAYS!"
"I can't turn left. There's a concrete wall there." We sailed over the bridge toward East Saint Louis.
"Turn around when possible," Tom Tom sighed.
"Fuck, yeah," we agreed. We were all set to turn on Highway Three, then double over back across the highway, then head very fast back west. We had accidentally crossed the bridge once and survived by using this route.
"Take the exit right," Tom Tom said. Gary agreed. Or, more accurately, 'Gary screamed his agreement.' It was very tense in our car, Gary screaming, me slapping the turn signals hard and yanking the wheel. Tom Tom was placid.
"Turn left," Tom Tom insisted after we took the exit to Highway Three, which was suddenly just a two-lane road.
"NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!" Gary screamed.
"But she says to!"
"NNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and he almost yanked the wheel out of my hand.
I followed the Tom Tom and she led us down a progressively dirtier dirt road.
"TTTTUUUUUUUUURRRRRRNNNNNN AAARRRRROOUNNNNND!" So I turned around and went back to the two lane road. I hissed at Gary, "Where should I go now? Where? You tell me. You know everything."
This was not well received.
"Turn right ahead," Tom Tom said pleasantly. Gary agreed so I turned right.
After a block, Tom Tom said "Turn right."
"WHAT IS SHE DOING?" Gary screamed.
Then after another block, Tom Tom giggled, "Turn right." We were now in a weedy cobblestone plaza, or if you prefer, a vacant lot filled with cobblestones. Or, a twelve foot stretch of a six-lane cobblestone highway that had been abandoned by East Saint Louis after they ran out of legitimate funds. Or, The East Saint Louis Drug Mall.
"You have reached your final destination," Tom Tom cackled ominously.
Well, no. But I did stop listening to her after she stranded us in the cobblestone plaza. I began to listen to Gary instead, and he got us back to the highway. We were both pretty stressed by that time. I thought I had been expressing my anxiety fairly well, yet somehow Gary was surprised when we had to cross six lanes of highway to get to the correct exit and he screamed "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" and I screamed back, "SHUT THE FUCK UUUUUPPPPP!"
Really. He wasn't expecting that.
At any rate, we got back and dumped the Tom Tom in the trash. Well, no, we didn't , but our relationship with Tom Tom is fundamentally damaged.
We calmed down after we saw the Go Gos (Gary's in love now)...
...and ate Kobe beef burgers (thanks, Friend 0.75).
We realized that we saw no other cars or even actual living people in East Saint Louis. Maybe everyone is dead.