Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship With My GPS

A few weeks ago, I bought a ticket to see The Eagles of Death Metal in a little town just outside Treviso. The show was last night and didn't start until 10. I left my house at 9, giving me just enough time to get there. I should note that I had just less than a half tank of fuel in my truck, which should have been more than enough to get to the show and back home.
I know how to get to Treviso, but wasn't sure exactly how to get to the club where the show was, so I decided to use my GPS. When I plugged in the address, it estimated my arrival time at 9:57 PM. "Perfect," I thought to myself. But as I drove, the time mysteriously became later and later. I found myself taking rarely-travelled backroads at the suggestion of that little device. Suddenly, it was 10:47, and my gas tank was getting dangerously low.
I had no idea where I was, and was starting to consider my options. Ultimately, I decided to ditch the show and just head back home, praying I had enough gas to get me there. I punched this into my GPS, and cautiously followed its instructions.
And that's when the little fuel light came on.
Panic ensued.
I told my GPS to take me to the nearest gas station, knowing they'd be closed, but hoping they'd have one of those machines that takes cash. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the lights above the gas pumps. I pulled up and slid in my last 20 Euro bill. It lit up and buzzed and beeped. I grabbed the hose and put it in my gas tank, but nothing happened. I started hitting random buttons on the machine, and after several seconds, it finally gave me a receipt for the 20 Euro I fed it.
"Um, okay, I somehow just lost 20 Euro, but I still have my credit card, and right now, all I care about is getting enough gas to get me home."
I put card into the slot. What I failed to realise is these machines don't take anything but Italian bank cards. So, every time I put it in, it would hold on to it for a second, and then literally shoot it right back at me.
"Shit. Please, God, let there be an ATM somewhere nearby."
I got back into my truck, followed random roads, finally made it to Conegliano, and found an ATM. I got some cash out, found another gas station, and somehow got the pump to actually put gas into my truck.
Biggest sigh of relief ever.
And that's when the prostitute showed up.
I should also note that there's a section of highway SS13 near Conegliano that's notorious for its multitude of prostitutes. As I was fueling my truck, a young lady approached wearing typical slut attire (short skirt, high boots, long jacket, excessive makeup, etc.). She spoke to me in Italian, but I only caught every third or fourth word. I did my best to respond in Italian. It went something like this:

Prostitute: Good evening.
Curtis: Good evening.
P: Yadda yadda enjoy yourself yadda?
C: I only want gas.
P: Yadda your car yadda. Yadda my house yadda.
C: I only want gas. I go home now.
P: Are you military?
C: I only speak a little Italian.
P: Yadda yadda. (Puts her foot on the rear bumper of my truck.) Yadda handsome yadda.
C: Um.....
P: Yadda yadda love.
C: I go home now!

I quickly got back in my truck and sped away.
So, yeah, it was kind of a failed outing, but an adventure, nonetheless. The lesson learned is next time, I'll probably do the Google Maps / GPS combo. And make sure I have a full tank. And learn the Italian phrases for "I'm not interested" and "I have herpes."

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